masondixon line

Mason-Dixon line

[mey-suhn-dik-suhn]
noun
the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland, partly surveyed by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon between 1763 and 1767, popularly considered before the end of slavery as a line of demarcation between free and slave states.
Also, Mason and Dixon line.


Origin:
1770–80, Americanism

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To masondixon line
Collins
World English Dictionary
Mason-Dixon Line or Mason and Dixon Line (ˈmeɪsə n ˈdɪksən)
 
n
the state boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania: surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon; popularly regarded as the dividing line between North and South, esp between the free and the slave states before the American Civil War
 
Mason and Dixon Line or Mason and Dixon Line
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

Mason-Dixon Line
1779, named for Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, Eng. astronomers who surveyed (1763-7) the disputed boundary between the colonial holdings of the Penns and the Calverts. It became the technical boundary between "free" and "slave" states after 1804, when the last Northern state (New Jersey) passed its
abolition act. As the line between "the North" and "the South" in U.S. culture, it is attested from 1834.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

Mason-Dixon line definition


A boundary line between Pennsylvania and Maryland, laid out by two English surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, in the 1760s. Before and during the Civil War, the line was symbolic of the division between slaveholding and free states. After the war, it remained symbolic of the division between states that required racial segregation and those that did not.

Mason-Dixon line definition


Part of the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland established by the English surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the 1760s. The line resolved disputes caused by unclear description of the boundaries in the Maryland and Pennsylvania charters.

Note: Though the line did not actually divide North and South, it became the symbolic division between free states and slave states. Today, it still stands for the boundary between northern and southern states.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature