1. Nautical. a.
the distance between the level of the water and the upper surface of the freeboard deck amidships at the side of a hull: regulated by the agencies of various countries according to the construction of the hull, the type of cargo carried, the area of the world in which
it sails, the type of water, and the season of the year. Compare load line
(on a cargo vessel) the distance between the uppermost deck considered fully watertight and the official load line
the portion of the side of a hull that is above the water.
Civil Engineering. the height of the watertight portion of a building or other construction above a given level of water in a river, lake, etc.
Origin: 1670–80; free
; translation of French franc bord