1 (C) a long thin, usually continuous mark on a surface: A wiggly line showed where the river was. | straight line: Can you draw a straight line? | dotted line (=a broken straight line drawn or printed on paper): Sign your name on the dotted line.
2 (C) a long thin mark used to show a limit or border: a broken white line in the middle of the road | If the ball goes over the line, it's out of play.
3 (C) an imaginary line, for example one that shows the limits of an area of land: the line that divides northern and southern Ireland | lines of longitude
4 county line/state line AmE a border between two counties, states etc
5 ON SB'S FACE (C) a line on the skin of someone's face or skin; wrinkle 1 (1): a forehead etched with deep lines
6 the line technical the equator
7 (countable usually plural) the outer shape of something long or tall: a dress that follows the lines of the body | I admired the ship's clean elegant lines.
8 (countable usually singular) an attitude or belief, especially one that is stated publicly
(+ on): What's the candidate's line on abortion? | the party line (=the official opinion of a political party): By supporting Robertson, she's going directly against the party line.
9 take a firm/hard/strict etc line on to have a very strict attitude towards something: a judge notorious for taking a tough line on drug users
10 line of action/thought/reasoning etc a way or method of doing something or thinking about something: line of inquiry (=a way of trying to find out about something): Police are following several lines of inquiry. | line of argument (=a way of persuading someone about something): Which line of argument is Clarke likely to take?
11 along those/similar/different etc lines done or doing something in that way, a similar way etc: We've both been thinking along the same lines. | something along those lines (=something like that): They're organizing a trip to the beach or something along those lines. | along the lines of (=in a particular way): We'll probably end up doing something along the lines of what you're suggesting.
12 on the right lines done or doing something in the right kind of way: These new proposals are certainly on the right lines.
13 (countable usually singular) a telephone wire or connection: We rent the line from British Telecom. | on the line: There's a fault on the line. | bad line (=a line that is not working properly so that you cannot easily hear the other person talking)
14 hold the line spoken used to politely ask the person who is on the telephone to wait for a short time: Hold the line, please. I'll put you through to Mr Bork.
15 DRYING CLOTHES (C) a piece of string or rope that you hang wet clothes etc on in order to dry them; clothesline, washing line: the line: You'd better get your washing off the line - it's raining.
16 FISHING (C) a strong thin string with a hook on the end, used for catching fish
17 (C) a line of words on a page, for example in a poem or a report: a few lines from Shakespeare
18 ACTOR'S SPEECH (plural) the words of a play or performance that an actor learns: After 30 years on the stage, I still forget my lines.
19 PUNISHMENT lines (plural) BrE a punishment given to school children that consists of writing the same thing a lot of times: Take a hundred lines!
20 drop sb a line informal to write a short letter to someone: Drop me a line and let me know how you're getting on.
21 (C) a row of people or things next to each other
(+ of): a row of poplar trees beside the road | in a line: four little boys standing in a line
22 (C) AmE a row of people standing one behind the other while waiting for something; queue 1 (1) BrE: I was talking with Karen in the lunchline.
23 shoot a line/spin (sb) a line to tell someone things that are not true in order to persuade them or to make them admire you
24 don't give me that line spoken used to tell someone that you do not believe their excuse: "We just haven't had enough time to ..." "Oh, don't give me that line."
25 a track that a train travels along: the line: A train had broken down further along the line. | railway line: a bridge over the railway line | the Brighton/Manchester/Cambridge etc line (=a line that goes to Brighton etc) | Piccadilly/Victoria/Central etc line (=a line on London's underground system)
26 (countable usually singular) the direction or imaginary line along which something travels between two points in space: in a straight line: Light travels in a straight line. | line of fire/attack/movement etc (=the direction in which someone shoots, attacks, moves etc): I was directly in the animal's line of attack. | line of vision: the direction in which you are looking
27 JOB (countable usually singular) the kind of work someone does: line of business: What line of business is he in? | be in the building/retail etc line
-see job
28 in the line of duty if you do something in the line of duty, you do it as part of your job: Don't thank me, madam - it's all in the line of duty.
29 be in sb's line to be the type of thing that someone is interested in or good at: I'm afraid cookery isn't really in my line.
30 fall into line informal to start to do something in the way that a company, organization etc wants you to: Don't worry, I'm sure he'll soon fall into line and sign with the rest of us.
31 bring sb into line informal to make someone behave the way you want them to: The right wing of the party has got to be brought into line.
32 be out of line AmE if someone's behaviour is out of line, it is unacceptable
33 WAR (countable often plural) a row of military defences in front of the area that an army controls during a war: behind the line(s) (=in the area where your enemy is): Parachutists dropped behind the lines. | enemy lines: The base was stationed 100 miles inside enemy lines.
34 (C) the line of positions that an army has when it is fighting a battle: the line of battle
35 in line with if something changes in line with something else, it changes in the same way and at the same rate: Pensions will be increased in line with inflation.
36 bring sth into line with to make something work or happen according to a particular system or set of rules: British law will have to be changed to bring it into line with the latest European ruling.
37 along religious/party/ethnic lines if people divide along religious, party etc lines they divide according to which religion, political party, or other group they belong to
38 a thin/fine line between only a slight difference between two things, one of which is something bad: There's a very fine line between tax evasion and fraud.
39 be in line for sth to be very likely to get or be given something: Ted's in line for the chairmanship. | first/second etc in line for: She's about second in line for the management job.
40 be on the line informal if your job, position etc is on the line, there is a possibility you might lose it: From now on, all our jobs are on the line.
41 somewhere along the line informal during the time that you are involved in an activity or process: Somewhere along the line, Errol seemed to have lost interest in their marriage.
42 PRODUCT (C) a type of goods for sale in a shop: this season's new lines from Paris | discontinue a line (=stop selling a type of goods)
43 on line communicating with or by means of a computer
(+ to): The system is on line to the bank's mainframe computer. | We need to bring the network back on line. -see also: online
44 COMPANY (countable usually singular) a company that provides a system for moving goods by sea, air, road etc: a shipping line | the Cunard line
45 be in the firing line/in the line of fire
a) to be one of the people who could be criticized or blamed for something: As one of the President's chief advisers, he's bound to be in the firing line.
b) to be in a place where a bullet etc might hit you
46 SPORT (C) a row of players in a game such as American football or rugby that is formed when they move into position before play starts again
47 get a line on informal to get information about someone or something: Have we got any kind of line on that guy Marston?
48 DRUG (C) informal an amount of an illegal drug in powder form, arranged in a line before it is taken
(+ of): a line of coke
49 FAMILY (singular) the people that came or existed before you in your family: She comes from a long line of actors. | be of sb's line (=be their grandchild, great-grandchild etc): There was no-one directly of James's line to succeed to the throne.
-see also: draw the line at draw 1 (35), hard lines hard 1 (21), hook, line and sinker hook 1 (7), lay sth on the line lay 2 (15), picket line picket 1 (1), the poverty line/level poverty (2), read between the lines read 1 (11), spin a story/yarn/line spin 1 (6) 2 verb (T)
1 to cover the inside of a piece of material with another material: Are those curtains lined? | line sth with: a coat lined with silk
2 to form a layer over the inner surface of something: the mucus that lines the stomach | line sth with: The bird lined its nest with feathers.
3 (usually passive) to form rows along something: tree-lined avenues | Crowds lined the route to the palace.
4 line your own pockets to make yourself richer, especially by doing something dishonest
line up phrasal verb
1 (I, T) to form a row or arrange people or things in a row: Line up, everybody! | line sb/sth up: The men were being lined up for an inspection.
2 (T) to make arrangements so that something will happen or that someone will be available for an event: line sb/sth up: Sue's lined up some excellent speakers for tonight.
-see also: line-up

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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