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red line - definition and synonyms

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noun [countable] red line pronunciation in British English /ˌred ˈlaɪn/
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singularred line
pluralred lines
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  1. 1
    a statement, typically by a government, of acts that they regard as unacceptable and will respond to
    The use of chemical weapons during war is a red line issue.
  2. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    2
    a statement, typically by a government, of acts that they regard as unacceptable and will respond to
    Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel has been loudly demanding that America publicly draw a “red line” in respect to Iran’s nuclear program that would delineate exactly when the U.S. would launch a strike against Tehran.
    Submitted from United Kingdom on 24/09/2012
Word story
Red line has been used since the 1970s to denote a limit beyond which someone must not go without facing severe consequences. It suggests the idea of a physical boundary marking the limits between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and is related to expressions such as ’cross a line’ and ’draw a line in the sand’.
 

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