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line - definition and synonyms


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noun line pronunciation in British English /laɪn/
Word Forms
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  1. 1
    [countable] a long thin mark on the surface of something
    Draw a straight line.
    Each horizontal line on the graph represents fifteen minutes.
    1. a.
      a long thin mark on the ground used in sports for marking an area in which a match is played, or for showing where a race starts or finishes
      It was hard to tell whether the ball had crossed the line.
      the starting line
    2. b.
      a long thin mark on a road used for organizing traffic and for showing drivers where they can park
      His only previous conviction is for parking on a double yellow line.
    3. c.
      a thin mark on someones skin that appears especially as they get older
      There were small lines at the corners of her mouth and around her eyes.
  2. 2
    [countable] a border between two regions
    the line between Northern Ireland and the Republic
    1. a.
      an imaginary limit or border between two situations or conditions
      The country is still divided along ethnic lines.
      line between: The programme blurs the line between news and entertainment.
      a fine/thin line: There is a fine line between resolving the crisis peacefully and giving in to terrorism.
  3. 3
    [countable] a telephone connection
    My daughter now wants her own phone line in her bedroom.
    It’s a very bad line – put the phone down and I’ll call you back.
    1. a.
      a telephone service
      The advice line is open from 6pm to 10pm on weekdays.
      a chat line
  4. 4
    [countable] a part of a railway system
    the London to Brighton line
    There are plans to reopen the railway line.
    1. a.
      the long metal bars on which trains travel
      Train services have been cancelled due to repair work on the line.
  5. 5
    [countable] [usually singular] a way of thinking, talking, or finding out about something
    line of thought: He impatiently dismissed this line of thought.
    line of argument: You also need to develop a persuasive line of argument.
    line of enquiry: What are the main lines of enquiry you intend to pursue?
    1. a.
      an attitude or belief, especially one that is expressed publicly
      take a tough/firm/hard line: Environmental groups took a very tough line with the industry.
      line on: Forsyth appears to have hardened his line on Europe.
  6. 6
    [countable] a series of words written or printed in a row
    a line of text
    1. a.
      [plural] theatre the words that an actor says in a performance
      He forgot his lines.
    2. c.
      [singular] a remark, excuse, or explanation that is not sincere or true
      Don’t give me that old line.
      Synonyms and related words
  7. 7
    [countable] a row of people or things
    A line of police stood outside the post office as employees were evacuated.
    On the far bank were thick reeds and a line of palm trees.
    in a line: She told the children to walk in a line and not push.
    1. b.
      mainly American a queue of people waiting for something
      stand in line: We stood in line for about an hour to get the tickets.
  8. 8
    [countable] the way that communication, authority, or responsibility is shared between people in an organization
    We want to open up lines of communication and provide more information.
    The organization’s problems were caused by a lack of clear reporting lines.
  9. 9
    [countable] a company that provides a transport service
    The shipping line is losing money, and the government wants to sell it.
  10. 10
    [countable] business several products forming a set, for example because they are all of the same type or are all produced by the same company
    The company is broadening its product lines to attract more buyers.
    a new line of perfume
  11. 11
    [countable] a piece of string, rope, or wire used for a particular purpose
    a washing line
    Heavy snow brought down power lines.
  12. 12
    [countable] the direction or path along which someone or something moves or looks
    He was so drunk he couldn’t walk in a straight line.
    Deep snow is blocking the mountain roads that serve as supply lines for the rebels.
    line of fire (=the direction in which weapons are fired): Though there is fighting nearby, the camp is not in the line of fire.
    line of vision (=the direction in which someone is looking): I was standing right in his line of vision.
  13. 13
    [countable] an edge that shows the shape of something
    Buyers are attracted by the sleek lines of the car.
  14. 15
    [countable] a series of connected events
    This is just the latest in a long line of such scandals.
    1. a.
      a series of connected generations in the same family
      Mr Nelson comes from a long line of carpenters.
  15. 16
    [singular] a type of work or area of interest
    line of business/work: What line of business are you in exactly?
    in someone’s line: Light novels are more in my line.



a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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