A guideline is a rule-of-thumb or suggestion that shows or tells you how to behave. If you want to stay healthy, you might want to follow the government's dietary guidelines. Sample guideline: go easy on the salt.

In the 18th century, guideline referred to an actual line that you drew on fabric before cutting. So for example, if you wanted to cut a piece of linen to make a dress, you'd draw a guideline on it first to make sure the incision would be straight. The line guided your cut; over time, the word became a metaphor for a guide to any sort of action.

Definitions of guideline

n a rule or principle that provides guidance to appropriate behavior

guidepost, rule of thumb
Type of:
regulation, rule
a principle or condition that customarily governs behavior

n a detailed plan or explanation to guide you in setting standards or determining a course of action

road map
Type of:
plan, program, programme
a series of steps to be carried out or goals to be accomplished
counsel, counseling, counselling, direction, guidance
something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action

n a light line that is used in lettering to help align the letters

Type of:
a mark that is long relative to its width

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