1 [lahyn]
a mark or stroke long in proportion to its breadth, made with a pen, pencil, tool, etc., on a surface: a line down the middle of the page.
Mathematics. a continuous extent of length, straight or curved, without breadth or thickness; the trace of a moving point.
something arranged along a line, especially a straight line; a row or series: a line of trees.
a number of persons standing one behind the other and waiting their turns at or for something; queue.
something resembling a traced line, as a band of color, a seam, or a furrow: lines of stratification in rock.
a furrow or wrinkle on the face, neck, etc.: lines around the eyes.
an indication of demarcation; boundary; limit: the county line; a fine line between right and wrong.
a row of written or printed letters, words, etc.: a page of 30 lines.
a verse of poetry: A line in iambic pentameter contains five feet.
Usually, lines. the words of an actor's part in a drama, musical comedy, etc.: to rehearse one's lines.
a short written message: Drop me a line when you're on vacation.
a system of public conveyances, as buses or trains, plying regularly over a fixed route: the northbound line at State Street.
a transportation or conveyance company: a steamship line.
a course of direction; route: the line of march down Main Street.
a course of action, procedure, thought, policy, etc.: That newspaper follows the communist line.
a piece of pertinent or useful information (usually followed by on ): I've got a line on a good used car.
a series of generations of persons, animals, or plants descended from a common ancestor: a line of kings.
a department of activity; occupation or business: What line are you in?
Informal. a mode of conversation, especially one that is glib or exaggerated in order to impress or influence another person: He really handed her a line about his rich relatives.
a straight line drawn from an observed object to the fovea of the eye.
the outer form or proportions of a ship, building, etc.: a ship of fine lines.
a general form, as of an event or something that is made, which may be the basis of comparison, imitation, etc.: two books written along the same lines.
a person's lot or portion: to endure the hard lines of poverty.
Chiefly British. a certificate of marriage.
a circle of the terrestrial or celestial sphere: the equinoctial line.
banner ( def 7 ).
Fine Arts.
a mark made by a pencil, brush, or the like, that defines the contour of a shape, forms hatching, etc.
the edge of a shape.
Television. one scanning line.
a telephone connection: Please hold the line.
a wire circuit connecting two or more pieces of electric apparatus, especially the wire or wires connecting points or stations in a telegraph or telephone system, or the system itself.
the line, Geography. the equator.
a stock of commercial goods of the same general class but having a range of styles, sizes, prices, or quality: the company's line of shoes.
an assembly line.
Law. a limit defining one estate from another; the outline or boundary of a piece of real estate.
Bridge. a line on a score sheet that separates points scored toward game (below the line) from points scored by setting a contract, having honors, etc. (above the line)
Music. any of the straight, horizontal, parallel strokes of the staff, or one placed above or below the staff.
a defensive position or front.
a series of fortifications: the Maginot line.
Usually, lines. a distribution of troops, sentries, etc., for the defense of a position or for an attack: behind the enemy's lines.
the body of personnel constituting the combatant forces of an army, as distinguished from the supply services and staff corps.
an arrangement of troops of an army or of ships of a fleet as drawn up for battle: line of battle.
a body or formation of troops or ships drawn up abreast (distinguished from column ).
the class of officers serving with combatant units or warships.
the regular forces of an army or navy.
that part of an administrative organization consisting of persons actively engaged on a given project. Compare staff1 ( def 4 ).
a thread, string, cord, rope, or the like.
a clothesline: the wash hanging on the line.
a cord, wire, or the like, used for measuring or as a guide.
a pipe or hose: a steam line.
a rope or cable used at sea.
Slang. a small quantity of cocaine arranged in the form of a slender thread or line, as for sniffing.
Also, ligne. a unit equal to 1/40 (0.025) inch (0.64 mm), for measuring the diameter of buttons.
Angling. a length of nylon, silk, linen, cord, or the like, to which are attached the leader, hook, sinker, float, etc.
either of the two front rows of opposing players lined up opposite each other on the line of scrimmage: a four-man line.
the betting odds established by bookmakers for events not covered by pari-mutuel betting, especially sporting events, as football or basketball.
Ice Hockey. the two wings and center who make up a team's offensive unit.
Fencing. any of the four divisions of the portion of a fencer's body on which a touch can be scored, taken as an area of attack or defense.
Textiles. the longer and preferred flax or hemp fibers. Compare tow2 ( def 2 ).
Fox Hunting. the trail of scent left by a fox.
a unit of length equivalent to 1/12 (0.0833) inch (2.12 millimeters).
a class or type of insurance: casualty line.
the amount of insurance written for a particular risk.
Australian Slang. a girl or woman.
verb (used without object), lined, lining.
to take a position in a line; range (often followed by up ): to line up before the start of a parade.
to hit a line drive.
to line out.
verb (used with object), lined, lining.
to bring into a line, or into line with others (often followed by up ): to line up troops.
to mark with a line or lines: to line paper for writing.
to sketch verbally or in writing; outline (often followed by out ): We followed the plan he had lined out.
to arrange a line along: to line a coast with colonies.
to form a line along: Rocks lined the drive.
to apply liner to (the eyes).
to delineate with or as if with lines; draw: to line the silhouette of a person's head.
Archaic. to measure or test with a line.
Verb phrases
line out,
Baseball. to be put out by hitting a line drive caught on the fly by a player of the opposing team.
to execute or perform: He lined out a few songs upon request.
line up, to secure; make available: to line up support; to line up a speaker for the banquet.
bring / come / get into line,
to become or cause to become straight, as in a row: The members of the marching band got into line.
to conform or cause to conform or agree: They were persuaded to come into line with the party's policy.
cross the line, to go beyond accepted standards of behavior: His outburst crossed the line between heated argument and offensive vilification. Sometimes, cross a boundary.
down the line,
in all ways; thoroughly; fully: It's a fine house right down the line—well-built, roomy, attractive.
in the future.
draw the line, to impose a restriction; limit: They might exaggerate but would draw the line at outright lying.
go up in one's lines, Theater. to forget one's part during a performance. Also, British, go up on one's lines.
hold the line, to maintain the status quo, especially in order to forestall unfavorable developments: We're trying to hold the line on prices.
in line,
in alignment; straight.
in conformity or agreement.
in control (of one's conduct): to keep one's temper in line.
prepared; ready.
waiting one behind the other in a queue: There were eight people in line at the teller's window.
in line with, in agreement or conformity with: The action taken was in line with her decision.
in the line of duty, in the execution of the duties belonging to some occupation, especially with regard to the responsibility for life and death: a policeman wounded in the line of duty. Also, in line of duty.
lay it on the line, Informal.
to give money; pay.
to give the required information; speak directly or frankly: I'm going to stop being polite and lay it on the line.
off line,
occurring or functioning away from an assembly line, work process, etc.
not in operation; not functioning.
on a line, Baseball. (of a batted or thrown ball) through the air in an approximately straight line from the point of impact or delivery: hit on a line between third and short; thrown in on a line from the center fielder.
on line,
on or part of an assembly line: Production will be improved when the new welding equipment is on line.
in or into operation: The manufacturing facilities will be on line before November.
Computers. actively linked to a computer: The printer is not yet on line.
Chiefly New York City. line1 ( def 73e ).
on the line, Informal.
being risked or put in jeopardy; in a vulnerable position: Our prestige and honor are on the line.
immediately; readily: paid cash on the line.
out of line,
not in a straight line.
in disagreement with what is accepted or practiced.
Informal. impertinent; presumptuous: That last remark was out of line.
read between the lines, to understand the unexpressed but implied meaning of something said or written: Her letter sounded cheerful enough, but I read a certain sadness between the lines.
toe the line / mark,
to conform strictly to a rule, command, etc.
to shoulder responsibilities; do one's duty: He tried hard to toe the line on the new job.

before 1000; Middle English li(g)ne cord, rope, stroke, series, guiding rule, partly < Old French ligneLatin līnea, noun use of feminine of līneus flaxen (orig. applied to string), equivalent to līn(um) flax (see line2) + -eus -eous, partly continuing Old English līne string, row, series < Latin, as above

linable, lineable, adjective
lineless, adjective
linelike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
line1 (laɪn)
1.  a narrow continuous mark, as one made by a pencil, pen, or brush across a surface
2.  such a mark cut into or raised from a surface
3.  a thin indented mark or wrinkle
4.  a straight or curved continuous trace having no breadth that is produced by a moving point
5.  maths
 a.  any straight one-dimensional geometrical element whose identity is determined by two points. A line segment lies between any two points on a line
 b.  a set of points (x, y) that satisfies the equation y = mx + c, where m is the gradient and c is the intercept with the y-axis
6.  a border or boundary: the county line
7.  sport
 a.  a white or coloured band indicating a boundary or division on a field, track, etc
 b.  a mark or imaginary mark at which a race begins or ends
8.  American football
 a.  See line of scrimmage
 b.  the players arranged in a row on either side of the line of scrimmage at the start of each play
9.  a specified point of change or limit: the dividing line between sanity and madness
10.  a.  the edge or contour of a shape, as in sculpture or architecture, or a mark on a painting, drawing, etc, defining or suggesting this
 b.  the sum or type of such contours or marks, characteristic of a style or design: the line of a draughtsman; the line of a building
11.  anything long, flexible, and thin, such as a wire or string: a washing line; a fishing line
12.  a telephone connection: a direct line to New York
13.  a.  a conducting wire, cable, or circuit for making connections between pieces of electrical apparatus, such as a cable for electric-power transmission, telecommunications, etc
 b.  (as modifier): the line voltage
14.  a system of travel or transportation, esp over agreed routes: a shipping line
15.  a company operating such a system
16.  a route between two points on a railway
17.  chiefly (Brit)
 a.  a railway track, including the roadbed, sleepers, etc
 b.  one of the rails of such a track
18.  (NZ) a roadway usually in a rural area
19.  a course or direction of movement or advance: the line of flight of a bullet
20.  a course or method of action, behaviour, etc: take a new line with him
21.  a policy or prescribed course of action or way of thinking (often in the phrases bringorcome into line)
22.  a field of study, interest, occupation, trade, or profession: this book is in your line
23.  alignment; true (esp in the phrases in line, out of line)
24.  one kind of product or article: a nice line in hats
25.  (NZ) a collection of bales of wool all of the one type
26.  a row of persons or things: a line of cakes on the conveyor belt
27.  a chronological or ancestral series, esp of people: a line of prime ministers
28.  a row of words printed or written across a page or column
29.  a unit of verse consisting of the number of feet appropriate to the metre being used and written or printed with the words in a single row
30.  a short letter; note: just a line to say thank you
31.  a piece of useful information or hint about something: give me a line on his work
32.  one of a number of narrow horizontal bands forming a television picture
33.  physics a narrow band in an electromagnetic spectrum, resulting from a transition in an atom, ion, or molecule of a gas or plasma
34.  music
 a.  Compare space any of the five horizontal marks that make up the stave
 b.  the musical part or melody notated on one such set
 c.  a discernible shape formed by sequences of notes or musical sounds: a meandering melodic line
 d.  (in polyphonic music) a set of staves that are held together with a bracket or brace
35.  a unit of magnetic flux equal to 1 maxwell
36.  a defensive or fortified position, esp one that marks the most forward position in war or a national boundary: the front line
37.  line ahead, line abreast a formation adopted by a naval unit for manoeuvring
38.  a formation adopted by a body or a number of military units when drawn up abreast
39.  the combatant forces of certain armies and navies, excluding supporting arms
40.  fencing one of four divisions of the target on a fencer's body, considered as areas to which specific attacks are made
41.  the scent left by a fox
42.  a.  the equator (esp in the phrase crossing the line)
 b.  any circle or arc on the terrestrial or celestial sphere
43.  the amount of insurance written by an underwriter for a particular risk
44.  (US), (Canadian) Also called (in Britain and certain other countries): queue a line of people, vehicles, etc, waiting for something
45.  slang a portion of a powdered drug for snorting
46.  slang something said for effect, esp to solicit for money, sex, etc: he gave me his usual line
47.  above the line
 a.  accounting denoting entries above a horizontal line on a profit and loss account, separating those that establish the profit or loss from those that show how the profit is distributed
 b.  denoting revenue transactions rather than capital transactions in a nation's accounts
 c.  marketing expenditure on media advertising through an agency, rather than internally arranged advertising, such as direct mail, free samples, etc
 d.  bridge denoting bonus points, marked above the horizontal line on the score card
48.  below the line
 a.  accounting denoting entries below a horizontal line on a profit and loss account, separating those that establish the profit or loss from those that show how the profit is distributed
 b.  denoting capital transactions rather than revenue transactions in a nation's accounts
 c.  marketing denoting expenditure on advertising by other means than the traditional media, such as the provision of free gifts, special displays, direct mailshots, etc
 d.  bridge denoting points scored towards game and rubber, marked below the horizontal line on the score card
49.  all along the line
 a.  at every stage in a series
 b.  in every detail
50.  informal (Irish), (Austral) do a line to associate (with a person of the opposite sex) regularly; go out (with): he is doing a line with her
51.  draw the line to reasonably object (to) or set a limit (on): her father draws the line at her coming in after midnight
52.  informal get a line on to obtain information about
53.  hold the line
 a.  to keep a telephone line open
 b.  football to prevent the opponents from taking the ball forward
 c.  (of soldiers) to keep formation, as when under fire
54.  in line for in the running for; a candidate for: he's in line for a directorship
55.  in line with conforming to
56.  in the line of duty as a necessary and usually undesired part of the performance of one's responsibilities
57.  lay on the line, put on the line
 a.  to pay money
 b.  to speak frankly and directly
 c.  to risk (one's career, reputation, etc) on something
58.  informal shoot a line to try to create a false image, as by boasting or exaggerating
59.  step out of line to fail to conform to expected standards, attitudes, etc
60.  toe the line to conform to expected standards, attitudes, etc
61.  (tr) to mark with a line or lines
62.  (tr) to draw or represent with a line or lines
63.  (tr) to be or put as a border to: tulips lined the lawns
64.  to place in or form a row, series, or alignment
[C13: partly from Old French ligne, ultimately from Latin līnea, n use of līneus flaxen, from līnum flax; partly from Old English līn, ultimately also from Latin līnum flax]

line2 (laɪn)
1.  to attach an inside covering to (a garment, curtain, etc), as for protection, to hide the seaming, or so that it should hang well
2.  to cover or fit the inside of: to line the walls with books
3.  to fill plentifully: a purse lined with money
4.  to reinforce the back of (a book) with fabric, paper, etc
[C14: ultimately from Latin līnum flax, since linings were often made of linen]

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

from O.E. line "rope, row of letters," and from O.Fr. ligne, both from L. linea "linen thread, string, line," from phrase linea restis "linen cord," from fem. of lineus (adj.) "of linen," from linum "linen" (see linen). Oldest sense is "rope, cord, string;" extended 1382 to
"a thread-like mark" (from sense "cord used by builders for making things level," 1340), also "track, course, direction." Sense of "things or people arranged in a straight line" is from 1557. That of "cord bearing hooks used in fishing" is from c.1300. Meaning "one's occupation, branch of business" is from 1638, probably from misunderstood KJV translation of 2 Cor. x.16, "And not to boast in another mans line of things made ready to our hand," where line translates Gk. kanon, lit. "measuring rod." Meaning "class of goods in stock" is from 1834. Meaning "telegraph wire" is from 1847 (later "telephone wire"), hence lineman (1858). Meaning "policy or set of policies of a political faction" is 1892, Amer.Eng., from notion of a procession of followers; this is the sense in party line. In British army, the Line (1802) is the regular, numbered troops, as distinguished from guards and auxiliaries. In the Navy (1704, e.g. ship of the line) it refers to the battle line. Lines "words of an actor's part" is from 1882. Lines of communication were originally transverse trenches in seigeworks.

"to cover the inner side of," late 14c., from O.E. lin "linen cloth" (see linen). Linen was frequently used in the Middle Ages as a second layer of material on the inner side of a garment.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

line (līn)

  1. The path traced by a moving point.

  2. A thin continuous mark, as that made by a pen, pencil, or brush applied to a surface.

  3. A crease in the skin, especially on the face; a wrinkle.

  4. In anatomy, a long narrow mark, strip, or streak distinguished from adjacent tissue by color, texture, or elevation.

  5. A real or imaginary mark positioned in relation to fixed points of reference.

  6. A border, boundary, or demarcation.

  7. A contour or an outline.

  8. A mark used to define a shape or represent a contour.

  9. Any of the marks that make up the formal design of a picture.

  10. A cable, rope, string, cord or wire.

  11. A general method, manner, or course of procedure.

  12. A manner or course of procedure determined by a specified factor.

  13. An official or prescribed policy.

  14. Ancestry or lineage.

  15. A series of persons, especially from one family, who succeed each other.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
line   (līn)  Pronunciation Key 
A geometric figure formed by a point moving in a fixed direction and in the reverse direction. The intersection of two planes is a line. ◇ The part of a line that lies between two points on the line is called a line segment.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

line definition

A set of points that have one dimension — length — but no width or height. (See coordinates.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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