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[pahyp-lahyn] /ˈpaɪpˌlaɪn/
a long tubular conduit or series of pipes, often underground, with pumps and valves for flow control, used to transport crude oil, natural gas, water, etc., especially over great distances.
a route, channel, or process along which something passes or is provided at a steady rate; means, system, or flow of supply or supplies:
Freighters and cargo planes are a pipeline for overseas goods.
a channel of information, especially one that is direct, privileged, or confidential; inside source; reliable contact.
verb (used with object), pipelined, pipelining.
to convey by or as if by pipeline:
to pipeline oil from the far north to ice-free ports; to pipeline graduates into the top jobs.
in the pipeline,
  1. Informal. in the process of being developed, provided, or completed; in the works; under way.
  2. Government Informal. (of funds) authorized but not spent.
Origin of pipeline
1855-60; pipe1 + line1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pipeline
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British Dictionary definitions for pipeline


a long pipe, esp underground, used to transport oil, natural gas, etc, over long distances
a medium of communication, esp a private one
in the pipeline, in the process of being completed, delivered, or produced
verb (transitive)
to convey by pipeline
to supply with a pipeline
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pipeline

1859, "continuous line of pipes," from pipe (n.1) + line (n.). Figurative sense of "channel of communication" is from 1921; surfer slang meaning "hollow part of a large wave" is attested by 1963.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pipeline



Directly communicated: a pipeline review


  1. A channel of communication, esp a direct and special one: You'd think he has a pipeline to Jesus (1921+)
  2. A channel or course for routine production, processing, etc: We'll have fewer men in what we call the ''pipeline'' who are moving (1955+)

Related Terms

in the pipeline, pipe

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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pipeline in Technology
A sequence of functional units ("stages") which performs a task in several steps, like an assembly line in a factory. Each functional unit takes inputs and produces outputs which are stored in its output buffer. One stage's output buffer is the next stage's input buffer. This arrangement allows all the stages to work in parallel thus giving greater throughput than if each input had to pass through the whole pipeline before the next input could enter.
The costs are greater latency and complexity due to the need to synchronise the stages in some way so that different inputs do not interfere. The pipeline will only work at full efficiency if it can be filled and emptied at the same rate that it can process.
Pipelines may be synchronous or asynchronous. A synchronous pipeline has a master clock and each stage must complete its work within one cycle. The minimum clock period is thus determined by the slowest stage. An asynchronous pipeline requires handshaking between stages so that a new output is not written to the interstage buffer before the previous one has been used.
Many CPUs are arranged as one or more pipelines, with different stages performing tasks such as fetch instruction, decode instruction, fetch arguments, arithmetic operations, store results. For maximum performance, these rely on a continuous stream of instructions fetched from sequential locations in memory. Pipelining is often combined with instruction prefetch in an attempt to keep the pipeline busy.
When a branch is taken, the contents of early stages will contain instructions from locations after the branch which should not be executed. The pipeline then has to be flushed and reloaded. This is known as a pipeline break.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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