Line has many meanings, most stemming from the basic idea of something unbroken and often straight. It might be the line you wait in at the market, or just a connection of two points.

The original meaning of line came from the Latin word linea, or “linen thread.” Your career is also your "line of work." Since you're an engineer, you might say "that's not in my line" if you are asked to bake a cake. A "pick-up line" is something you might hear from a person at a party who's flirting with you. It will probably be corny.

Primary Meanings of line

a length (straight or curved) without breadth or thickness; the trace of a moving point
make a mark or lines on a surface
a formation of people or things one beside another
be in line with; form a line along
a connected series of events or actions or developments
a commercial organization serving as a common carrier
reinforce with fabric
Full Definitions of line

n a length (straight or curved) without breadth or thickness; the trace of a moving point

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a line on a graph representing data
curve, curved shape
the trace of a point whose direction of motion changes
straight line
a line traced by a point traveling in a constant direction; a line of zero curvature
geodesic, geodesic line
(mathematics) the shortest line between two points on a mathematically defined surface (as a straight line on a plane or an arc of a great circle on a sphere)
a line enclosing a plane areas
center line, centerline
a line that bisects a plane figure
bound, boundary, edge
a line determining the limits of an area
Gaussian curve, Gaussian shape, bell-shaped curve, normal curve
a symmetrical curve representing the normal distribution
regression curve, regression line
a smooth curve fitted to the set of paired data in regression analysis; for linear regression the curve is a straight line
a bend or curve, as in a stream or river
closed curve
a curve (such as a circle) having no endpoints
a double curve resembling the letter S
the curve theoretically assumed by a perfectly flexible and inextensible cord of uniform density and cross section hanging freely from two fixed points
Cupid's bow
the double curve of the upper lip when considered to resemble Cupid's bow
undulation, wave
an undulating curve
the exterior curve of an arch
something in a thin curved form (like the neck of a goose)
the interior curve of an arch
bend, crook, turn, twist
a circular segment of a curve
crotchet, hook
a sharp curve or crook; a shape resembling a hook
a curve that is tangent to each of a family of curves
a straight line at right angles to another line
a straight line that is the limiting value of a curve; can be considered as tangent at infinity
a straight line or plane that touches a curve or curved surface at a point but does not intersect it at that point
a straight line that intersects a curve at two or more points
a straight line from the center to the perimeter of a circle (or from the center to the surface of a sphere)
a straight line connecting the center of a circle with two points on its perimeter (or the center of a sphere with two points on its surface)
a continuous portion of a circle
crenation, crenature, crenel, crenelle, scallop
one of a series of rounded projections (or the notches between them) formed by curves along an edge (as the edge of a leaf or piece of cloth or the margin of a shell or a shriveled red blood cell observed in a hypertonic solution etc.)
a straight line connecting two points on a curve
a plane curve traced by a point circling about the center but at increasing distances from the center
helix, spiral
a curve that lies on the surface of a cylinder or cone and cuts the element at a constant angle
a curve that reverses the direction of something
a straight line that generates a cylinder or cone
sinuosity, sinuousness
having curves
a curved shape in the vertical plane that spans an opening
bell, bell shape, campana
the shape of a bell
arc, bow
something curved in shape
any shape resembling the curved shape of the moon in its first or last quarters
the shape of a raised edge of a more or less circular object
quadric, quadric surface
a curve or surface whose equation (in Cartesian coordinates) is of the second degree
border, margin, perimeter
the boundary line or the area immediately inside the boundary
fringe, outer boundary, periphery
the outside boundary or surface of something
brink, threshold, verge
a region marking a boundary
upper bound
(mathematics) a number equal to or greater than any other number in a given set
lower bound
(mathematics) a number equal to or less than any other number in a given set
bias, diagonal
a line or cut across a fabric that is not at right angles to a side of the fabric
(geometry) a straight line connecting any two vertices of a polygon that are not adjacent
line roulette, roulette
a line generated by a point on one figure rolling around a second figure
the middle of the chief navigable channel of a waterway that forms the boundary line between states
a straight line segment whose length is magnitude and whose orientation in space is direction
Type of:
form, shape
the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance

n a spatial location defined by a real or imaginary unidimensional extent

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Antarctic Circle
a line of latitude north of the south pole
Arctic Circle
a line of latitude near but to the south of the north pole; it marks the northernmost point at which the sun is visible on the northern winter solstice and the southernmost point at which the midnight sun can be seen on the northern summer solstice
Greenwich Meridian
the meridian passing through Greenwich; was internationally adopted as the earth's zero of longitude in 1884
International Date Line
an imaginary line on the surface of the earth following (approximately) the 180th meridian
Tropic of Cancer
a line of latitude about 23 degrees to the north of the equator
Tropic of Capricorn
a line of latitude about 23 degrees to the south of the equator
Great Divide
that part of the continental divide formed by the Rocky Mountains in the United States
Silk Road
an ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean (4,000 miles); followed by Marco Polo in the 13th century to reach Cathay
Northwest Passage
a water route between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean along the northern coast of North America; Europeans since the 16th century had searched for a short route to the Far East before it was successfully traversed by Roald Amundsen (1903-1906)
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part, parting
a line of scalp that can be seen when sections of hair are combed in opposite directions
a straight line through a body or figure that satisfies certain conditions
aclinic line, magnetic equator
an imaginary line paralleling the equator where a magnetic needle has no dip
agonic line
an imaginary line connecting points on the Earth's surface where the magnetic declination is zero
isogonal line, isogone, isogonic line
an imaginary line connecting points on the Earth's surface where the magnetic declination is the same
the top line of a hill, mountain, or wave
timber line, timberline, tree line
line marking the upper limit of tree growth in mountains or northern latitudes
snow line
the line on a mountain above which there is perpetual snow and ice
fault line
(geology) line determined by the intersection of a geological fault and the earth's surface
great circle
a circular line on the surface of a sphere formed by intersecting it with a plane passing through the center
the line formed by the lower edge of a skirt or coat
the line formed by the lower edge of hip-length garment
the line formed by measuring the hip at its greatest part
apparent horizon, horizon, sensible horizon, skyline, visible horizon
the line at which the sky and Earth appear to meet
isarithm, isogram, isopleth
a line drawn on a map connecting points having the same numerical value of some variable
flight line
place where airplanes are parked and the maintenance hangars (but not the runways or taxiways)
line of sight, line of vision
an imaginary straight line along which an observer looks
latitude, line of latitude, parallel, parallel of latitude
an imaginary line around the Earth parallel to the equator
lunar latitude
an imaginary line around the moon parallel to its equator
itinerary, path, route
an established line of travel or access
quadrant, quarter-circle
a quarter of the circumference of a circle
loxodrome, rhumb, rhumb line
a line on a sphere that cuts all meridians at the same angle; the path taken by a ship or plane that maintains a constant compass direction
danger line
a line beyond which it is dangerous to go
a line segment forming part of the perimeter of a plane figure
water level, water line, waterline
a line corresponding to the surface of the water when the vessel is afloat on an even keel; often painted on the hull of a ship
water line, watermark
a line marking the level reached by a body of water
divide, water parting, watershed
a ridge of land that separates two adjacent river systems
course, path, track
a line or route along which something travels or moves
field line, line of force
an imaginary line in a field of force; direction of the line at any point is the direction of the force at that point
feeder line
a branching path off of a main transportation line (especially an airline)
main line
the principal route of a transportation system
data track, track
(computer science) one of the circular magnetic paths on a magnetic disk that serve as a guide for writing and reading data
coordinate axis
one of the fixed reference lines of a coordinate system
major axis
the longest axis of an ellipse or ellipsoid; passes through the two foci
semimajor axis
one-half the major axis of an ellipse; the distance from the center of an ellipse to one end
minor axis
the shorter or shortest axis of an ellipse or ellipsoid
semiminor axis
one-half the minor axis of an ellipse
optic axis, principal axis
a line that passes through the center of curvature of a lens so that light is neither reflected nor refracted
optic axis
in a doubly refracting crystal, the line in the direction of which no double refraction occurs
air lane, airway, flight path, skyway
a designated route followed by airplanes in flying from one airport to another
approach pattern, pattern, traffic pattern
the path that is prescribed for an airplane that is preparing to land at an airport
flight path
the path of a rocket or projectile or aircraft through the air
polar circle
a line of latitude at the north or south poles
beat, round
a regular route for a sentry or policeman
bus route
the route regularly followed by a passenger bus
celestial equator, equinoctial, equinoctial circle, equinoctial line
the great circle on the celestial sphere midway between the celestial poles
the great circle representing the apparent annual path of the sun; the plane of the Earth's orbit around the sun; makes an angle of about 23 degrees with the equator
an imaginary line around the Earth forming the great circle that is equidistant from the north and south poles
celestial horizon, horizon
the great circle on the celestial sphere whose plane passes through the sensible horizon and the center of the Earth
horse latitude
either of two belts or regions near 30 degrees north or 30 degrees south; characterized by calms and light-baffling winds
hour circle
a great circle on the celestial sphere that passes through both celestial poles
(meteorology)an isogram connecting points having equal barometric pressure at a given time
an isogram connecting points at which something occurs or arrives at the same time
isoclinal, isoclinic line
an isogram connecting points of equal magnetic inclination
an isogram connecting points receiving equal amounts of sunshine
(meteorology) an isogram connecting points having the same temperature at a given time
line of flight
the path along which a freely moving object travels through the air
line of march
the route along which a column advances
Plimsoll, Plimsoll line, Plimsoll mark, load line
waterlines to show the level the water should reach when the ship is properly loaded
line of longitude, meridian
an imaginary great circle on the surface of the earth passing through the north and south poles at right angles to the equator
celestial orbit, orbit
the (usually elliptical) path described by one celestial body in its revolution about another
electron orbit, orbit
the path of an electron around the nucleus of an atom
paper round, paper route
the route taken when delivering newspapers every day
the most direct route
an established itinerary of venues or events that a particular group of people travel to
a diagonal path
supply line, supply route
a route over which supplies can be delivered
line of fire
the path of a missile discharged from a firearm
flyway, migration route
the geographic route along which birds customarily migrate
the usual course taken by vessels through a harbor or coastal waters
either of two parallels of latitude about 23.5 degrees to the north and south of the equator representing the points farthest north and south at which the sun can shine directly overhead and constituting the boundaries of the Torrid Zone or tropics
vertical circle
a great circle on the celestial sphere passing through the zenith and perpendicular to the horizon
high-water mark
a line marking the highest level reached
low-water mark
a line marking the lowest level reached
continental divide
the watershed of a continent (especially the watershed of North America formed by a series of mountain ridges extending from Alaska to Mexico)
direction, way
a line leading to a place or point
trade route
a route followed by traders (usually in caravans)
collision course
a course of a moving object that will lead to a collision if it continues unchanged
inside track
the inner side of a curved racecourse
the course along which communications spread
the course along which a person has walked or is walking in
belt, swath
a path or strip (as cut by one course of mowing)
a track or mark left by something that has passed
electrical line of force
a line of force in an electrical field
magnetic line of force
a line of force in a magnetic field
Type of:
a point or extent in space

n a mark that is long relative to its width

“He drew a line on the chart”
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cross hair, cross wire
either of two fine mutually perpendicular lines that cross in the focus plane of an optical instrument and are use for sighting or calibration
dotted line
a line made up of dots or dashes; often used to indicate where you are supposed to sign a contract
(printing) the part of tall lowercase letters that extends above the other lowercase letters
bar line
a vertical line before the accented beat marking the boundary between musical bars
(printing) the part of lowercase letters that extends below the other lowercase letters
curlicue, squiggle
a short twisting line
spectrum line
an isolated component of a spectrum formed by radiation at a uniform frequency
trend line
a line on a graph indicating a statistical trend
isometric, isometric line
a line connecting isometric points
a line (as on a vessel or ruler) that marks a measurement
a light line that is used in lettering to help align the letters
a very thin line
a line that forms the length of an arrow pointer
serif, seriph
a short line at the end of the main strokes of a character
staff line
any of the 5 horizontal marks comprising a staff
ledger line, leger line
a short line; a notation for extending the range above or below the staff
contour, contour line
a line drawn on a map connecting points of equal height
hair stroke
a very fine line in writing or printing
double bar
notation marking the end of principal parts of a musical composition; two adjacent bar lines
fine structure
the presence of groups of closely spaced spectrum lines observed in the atomic spectrum of certain elements
Type of:
mark, print
a visible indication made on a surface

n a single frequency (or very narrow band) of radiation in a spectrum

Type of:
electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic wave, nonparticulate radiation
radiation consisting of waves of energy associated with electric and magnetic fields resulting from the acceleration of an electric charge

n a conductor for transmitting electrical or optical signals or electric power

cable, transmission line
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coax, coax cable, coaxial cable
a transmission line for high-frequency signals
electrical cable
a cable that provides an electrical connection for telephone or television or power stations
fiber optic cable, fibre optic cable
a cable made of optical fibers that can transmit large amounts of information at the speed of light
power cable, power line
cable used to distribute electricity
printer cable
a cable between a computer and a printer
ethernet cable
any of several types of coaxial cable used in ethernets
Type of:
a device designed to transmit electricity, heat, etc.

n something (as a cord or rope) that is long and thin and flexible

“a washing line
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(nautical) a short line with an eye at one end and a knot at the other; used to secure loose items on a ship
a line made of twisted fibers or threads
laniard, lanyard
(nautical) a line used for extending or fastening rigging on ships
line thrown from a vessel that people can cling to in order to save themselves from drowning
line that raises or lowers a deep-sea diver
mooring, mooring line
(nautical) a line that holds an object (especially a boat) in place
a line that is attached to the bow of a boat and used for tying up (as when docking or towing)
ratlin, ratline
(nautical) a small horizontal rope between the shrouds of a sailing ship; they form a ladder for climbing aloft
a strong line
mainsheet, sheet, shroud, tack, weather sheet
(nautical) a line (rope or chain) that regulates the angle at which a sail is set in relation to the wind
a line that suspends the harness from the canopy of a parachute
line consisting of a complex of fibers or filaments that are twisted together to form a thread or a rope or a cable
towing line, towing rope, towline, towrope
(nautical) a rope used in towing
either of two lines that connect a horse's harness to a wagon or other vehicle or to a whiffletree
a cord (usually of goat's hair) that Arabs (especially Bedouins) wind around their heads to hold down the kaffiyeh
apron string
(usually used in the plural) a cord used to tie an apron at the waist
a rope with weights attached to the ends; is thrown to entangle the legs of an animal; of South American origin
the string of an archer's bow
a rope on a square-rigged ship that is used to swing a yard about and secure it
a small rope (one of several) used to draw a sail in
bungee, bungee cord
an elasticized rope
a very strong thick rope made of twisted hemp or steel wire
catgut, gut
a strong cord made from the intestines of sheep and used in surgery
chenille, chenille cord
a soft tufted cord used in embroidery
the cords used to suspend a hammock
a cord on which clothes are hung to dry
the ropes in the rigging of a ship
fishing line
a length of cord to which the leader and float and sinker and hook are attached
futtock shroud
shroud that is part of a ship's rigging
guide rope
a rope used to guide the movement of the load of a crane
halliard, halyard
a rope for raising or lowering a sail or flag
halter, hangman's halter, hangman's rope, hemp, hempen necktie
a rope that is used by a hangman to execute persons who have been condemned to death by hanging
harpoon line
a strong rope for making the catch fast to the harpooner's boat
large heavy rope for nautical use
a mooring line that secures the bow of a boat or ship to a wharf
jump rope, skip rope, skipping rope
a length of rope (usually with handles on each end) that is swung around while someone jumps over it
lace, lacing
a cord that is drawn through eyelets or around hooks in order to draw together two edges (as of a shoe or garment)
laniard, lanyard
a cord worn around the neck to hold a knife or whistle
laniard, lanyard
a cord with an attached hook that is used to fire certain types of cannon
rope that is used for fastening something to something else
lariat, lasso, reata, riata
a long noosed rope used to catch animals
log line
a knotted cord that runs out from a reel to a piece of wood that is attached to it
a thin strip of covered cord used to edge hems
perpendicular, plumb line
a cord from which a metal weight is suspended pointing directly to the earth's center of gravity; used to determine the vertical from a given point
one of the strands twisted together to make yarn or rope or thread; often used in combination
a rope fitted with a hook and used for towing a gun carriage
ridge rope
either of a pair of lifelines running alongside the bowsprit of a ship
a cord that is pulled to open a parachute from its pack during a descent
a cord that is pulled to open the gasbag of a balloon wide enough to release gas and so causes the balloon to descend
rope yarn
the strands out of which ropes are made
sash cord, sash line
a strong cord connecting a sash weight to a sliding sash
a cord or rope or cable that is hanging loosely
small stuff
any light rope used on shipboard
static line
a cord used instead of a ripcord to open a parachute; the cord is attached at one end to the aircraft and temporarily attached to the pack of a parachute at the other; it opens the parachute after the jumper is clear of the plane
string, twine
a lightweight cord
a tightly stretched cord of wire or gut, which makes sound when plucked, struck, or bowed
thread, yarn
a fine cord of twisted fibers (of cotton or silk or wool or nylon etc.) used in sewing and weaving
a cord (or string or ribbon or wire etc.) with which something is tied
something that is used for tying
tightly stretched rope or wire on which acrobats perform high above the ground
trip line
a light rope used in lumbering to free a dog hook from a log at a distance
closely twisted hard cord used for the lashes of whips
taper, wick
a loosely woven cord (in a candle or oil lamp) that draws fuel by capillary action up into the flame
any piece of cord that conveys liquid by capillary action
Type of:
artefact, artifact
a man-made object taken as a whole

n a telephone connection

phone line, subscriber line, telephone circuit, telephone line
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DSL, digital subscriber line
a generic name for digital lines that are provided by telephone companies to their local subscribers and that carry data at high speeds
hot line
a direct telephone line between two officials
land line, landline
a telephone line that travels over terrestrial circuits
party line
a telephone line serving two or more subscribers
private line
a telephone line serving a single subscriber
toll line
a telephone line for long-distance calls
trunk line
a telephone line connecting two exchanges directly
a telephone line;long distance service at fixed rates for fixed zones; an acronym for wide area telephone service
Type of:
connecter, connection, connective, connector, connexion
an instrumentality that connects

n (often plural) a means of communication or access

lines of communication were set up between the two firms”
channel, communication channel
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back channel
an alternative to the regular channels of communication that is used when agreements must be made secretly (especially in diplomacy or government)
(metaphor) a channel through which something can be seen or understood
contact, inter-group communication, liaison, link
a channel for communication between groups
line of gab, patter, spiel
plausible glib talk (especially useful to a salesperson)
Type of:
communicating, communication
the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information

n a pipe used to transport liquids or gases

trans-Alaska pipeline
an oil pipeline that runs 800 miles from wells at Prudhoe Bay to the port of Valdez
gas line
a pipeline used to transport natural gas
oil pipeline
a pipeline used to transport oil
Type of:
pipage, pipe, piping
a long tube made of metal or plastic that is used to carry water or oil or gas etc.

n the road consisting of railroad track and roadbed

rail line, railway line
branch line, spur, spur track
a railway line connected to a trunk line
trunk line, trunk route
line that is the main route on a railway
a railway branch line that branches from the trunk line and then rejoins it later on
Type of:
road, route
an open way (generally public) for travel or transportation

n a slight depression in the smoothness of a surface

“his face has many lines
crease, crinkle, furrow, seam, wrinkle
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crow's feet, crow's foot, laugh line
a wrinkle in the skin at the outer corner of your eyes
the lines that form patterns on the skin (especially on the fingertips and the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet)
frown line
a facial wrinkle associated with frowning
life line, lifeline, line of life
a crease on the palm; its length is said by palmists to indicate how long you will live
heart line, line of heart, love line, mensal line
a crease on the palm; palmists say it indicates your emotional nature
line of Saturn, line of destiny, line of fate
a crease on the palm; palmists say it indicates how successful you will be
Type of:
depression, impression, imprint
a concavity in a surface produced by pressing

n in games or sports; a mark indicating positions or bounds of the playing area

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balkline, baulk-line, string line
line across a billiard table behind which the cue balls are placed at the start of a game
finish line, finishing line
a line indicating the location of the finish of a race
foul line
lines through 1st and 3rd base indicating the boundaries of a baseball field
foul line
a line across a bowling alley that a bowler must not cross
foul line
a line from which basketball players take penalty shots
the lines a baseball player must follow while running the bases
goal line
a line marking each end of the playing field or pitch; where the goals stand
red line
a line that is colored red and that bisects an ice hockey rink
line of scrimmage, scrimmage line
line parallel to the goal lines where football linesmen line up at the start of each play in American football
baseline, service line
the back line bounding each end of a tennis or handball court; when serving the server must not step over this line
out of bounds, sideline
a line that marks the side boundary of a playing field
scratch, scratch line, start, starting line
a line indicating the location of the start of a race or a game
yard line
in football; line parallel to the goal lines indicating position on the field
either of the sidelines in soccer or rugby
the finishing line for a foot race
the finishing line on a racetrack
Type of:
mark, print
a visible indication made on a surface

n the maximum credit that a customer is allowed

bank line, credit line, line of credit, personal credit line, personal line of credit
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consumer credit
a line of credit extended for personal or household use
equity credit line, home equity credit, home equity loan, home loan
a loan secured by equity value in the borrower's home
installment credit, installment loan
a loan repaid with interest in equal periodic payments
charge account credit, open-end credit, revolving credit
a consumer credit line that can be used up to a certain limit or paid down at any time
Type of:
money available for a client to borrow

n a conceptual separation or distinction

“there is a narrow line between sanity and insanity”
contrast, demarcation, dividing line
Rubicon, point of no return
a line that when crossed permits of no return and typically results in irrevocable commitment
Type of:
differentiation, distinction
a discrimination between things as different and distinct

v make a mark or lines on a surface

delineate, describe, draw, trace
engage in drawing
represent by making a drawing of, as with a pencil, chalk, etc. on a surface
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draw with suitable instruments and under specified conditions
draw within a figure so as to touch in as many places as possible
draw a line around
to draw a geometric figure around another figure so that the two are in contact but do not intersect
mark or trace on a surface
make a dot or dots
write in shorthand
write beautifully and ornamentally
trace a line through or across
write on the outside or upper part of
write on the top or outside
capitalise, capitalize
write in capital letters
mark letters on or mark with letters
write as if with print; not cursive
scrawl, scribble
write carelessly
copy down as is
impress, print
reproduce by printing
Type of:
make or leave a mark on

v mark with lines

“sorrow had lined his face”
put new lines on
draw, cut, or engrave lines, usually parallel, on metal, wood, or paper
mark with or consist of a pattern of crossed lines
Type of:
mark, nock, score
make small marks into the surface of

n a formation of people or things one beside another

“the line of soldiers advanced with their bayonets fixed”
“they were arrayed in line of battle”
“the cast stood in line for the curtain call”
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rivet line
a line of rivets at a seam
chorus, chorus line
a body of dancers or singers who perform together
an oblique line of squares of the same color on a checkerboard
the football players who line up on the line of scrimmage
a line of persons arranged by police for inspection or identification
an arrangement of objects or people side by side in a line
a row or line of people (especially soldiers or police) standing abreast of one another
corps de ballet, ensemble
the chorus of a ballet company
main diagonal, principal diagonal
the diagonal of a square matrix running from the upper left entry to the lower right entry
secondary diagonal
the diagonal of a square matrix running from the lower left entry to the upper right entry
a row of notches
a row of houses built in a similar style and having common dividing walls (or the street on which they face)
Type of:
an arrangement of people or things acting as a unit

n a formation of people or things one behind another

“the line stretched clear around the corner”
“you must wait in a long line at the checkout counter”
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an oblique line of squares of the same color on a checkerboard
Indian file, file, single file
a line of persons or things ranged one behind the other
line of march
the arrangement of people in a line for marching
line of succession
the order in which individuals are expected to succeed one another in some official position
picket line
a line of people acting as pickets
conga line
a line of people in single file performing the conga dance
trap line
a line or series of traps
queue, waiting line
a line of people or vehicles waiting for something
main diagonal, principal diagonal
the diagonal of a square matrix running from the upper left entry to the lower right entry
secondary diagonal
the diagonal of a square matrix running from the lower left entry to the upper right entry
snake dance
a group advancing in a single-file serpentine path
a line of units following one after another
bread line, breadline
a queue of people waiting for free food
checkout line
a queue of people waiting to pay for purchases
chow line
a queue of people waiting for food to be served (especially at a military camp)
gas line
a queue of vehicles waiting to purchase gasoline
reception line
a line of people (hosts and guests of honor) who welcome the guests at a reception party
ticket line
a queue of people waiting to buy tickets
unemployment line
a queue of people waiting for employment
Type of:
an arrangement of people or things acting as a unit

n a succession of notes forming a distinctive sequence

air, melodic line, melodic phrase, melody, strain, tune
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fanfare, flourish, tucket
(music) a short lively tune played on brass instruments
a rapid series of ascending or descending notes on the musical scale
(music) an elaborate run of several notes sung to one syllable
leitmotif, leitmotiv
a melodic phrase that accompanies the reappearance of a person or situation (as in Wagner's operas)
theme song
a melody that recurs and comes to represent a musical play or movie
signature, signature tune, theme song
a melody used to identify a performer or a dance band or radio/tv program
idea, melodic theme, musical theme, theme
(music) melodic subject of a musical composition
part, voice
the melody carried by a particular voice or instrument in polyphonic music
slide, swoop
(music) rapid sliding up or down the musical scale
motif, motive
a theme that is repeated or elaborated in a piece of music
(music) the presentation of a musical theme
a repetition of a musical theme in which it is modified or embellished
the principal part of a duet (especially a piano duet)
the second or lower part of a duet (especially a piano duet)
voice part
a part written for a singer
accompaniment, backup, musical accompaniment, support
a musical part (vocal or instrumental) that supports or provides background for other musical parts
bass, bass part
the lowest part in polyphonic music
Type of:
an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner

n text consisting of a row of words written across a page or computer screen

“the letter consisted of three short lines
“there are six lines in every stanza”
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opening line
the first line of a piece of writing (as a newspaper story)
head, header, heading
a line of text serving to indicate what the passage below it is about
line of poetry, line of verse
a single line of words in a poem
by-line, credit line
a line giving the name of the writer of a story or article
a line at the beginning of a news article giving the date and place of origin of the news dispatch
verse, verse line
a line of metrical text
gag line, laugh line, punch line, tag line
the point of a joke or humorous story
actor's line, speech, words
words making up the dialogue of a play
the first line of a paragraph that is set as the last line of a page or column
sound bite
a very short speech; usually on radio or television
bottom line
the last line in an audit; the line that shows profit or loss
crosshead, crossheading
a heading of a subsection printed within the body of the text
headline, newspaper headline
the heading or caption of a newspaper article
the heading that indicates the subject of an annotation or a literary composition or a dictionary entry
a title or heading that is printed in red or in a special type
running head, running headline
a heading printed at the top of every page (or every other page) of a book
subhead, subheading
a heading of a subdivision of a text
rubric, statute title, title
a heading that names a statute or legislative bill; may give a brief summary of the matters it deals with
(prosody) a line of verse that has the full number of syllables
(prosody) a line of verse that has six iambic feet
(prosody) a line of verse that lacks a syllable in the last metrical foot
(prosody) a line of poetry having an extra syllable or syllables at the end of the last metrical foot
a verse line consisting of iambs
Adonic, Adonic line
a verse line with a dactyl followed by a spondee or trochee; supposedly used in laments by Adonis
a line spoken by an actor to the audience but not intended for others on the stage
an actor's line that immediately precedes and serves as a reminder for some action or speech
a (usually long) dramatic speech by a single actor
a (usually long) dramatic speech intended to give the illusion of unspoken reflections
words spoken in a casual way with conscious under-emphasis
a verse line having four metrical feet
a verse line having five metrical feet
a verse line having six metrical feet
a verse line having eight metrical feet
a verse line having eight syllables or a poem of octosyllabic lines
a verse line having ten syllables
Type of:
text, textual matter
the words of something written

n space for one line of print (one column wide and 1/14 inch deep) used to measure advertising

agate line
Type of:
area unit, square measure
a system of units used to measure areas

n a short personal letter

“drop me a line when you get there”
billet, note, short letter
a note explaining an absence
Type of:
personal letter
a letter dealing with personal affairs

n the descendants of one individual

ancestry, blood, blood line, bloodline, descent, line of descent, lineage, origin, parentage, pedigree, stemma, stock
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family, family line, folk, kinfolk, kinsfolk, phratry, sept
people descended from a common ancestor
a family line of descent
members of a family line
the people of your home locality (especially your own family)
aristocratic family line
a sequence of powerful leaders in the same family
gens, name
family based on male descent
Type of:
family tree, genealogy
successive generations of kin

n a fortified position (especially one marking the most forward position of troops)

“they attacked the enemy's line
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firing line
the line from which soldiers deliver fire
battlefront, front, front line
the line along which opposing armies face each other
line of battle
a line formed by troops or ships prepared to deliver or receive an attack
battle line
the line along which warring troops meet
Type of:
military position, position
a point occupied by troops for tactical reasons

v be in line with; form a line along

“trees line the riverbank”
run along
run around the rim of
go along the rim, like a beard around the chin
Type of:
be located or situated somewhere; occupy a certain position

n a connected series of events or actions or developments

“historians can only point out those lines for which evidence is available”
current, flow, stream
dominant course (suggestive of running water) of successive events or ideas
Type of:
similar things placed in order or happening one after another

n a course of reasoning aimed at demonstrating a truth or falsehood; the methodical process of logical reasoning

“I can't follow your line of reasoning”
argument, argumentation, line of reasoning, logical argument
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line of inquiry, line of questioning
an ordering of questions so as to develop a particular argument
argumentation that is specious or excessively subtle and intended to be misleading
a line of argument rationalizing the course of action of a government
a policy of supporting the influence and power of the clergy in secular or political matters
an endorsed policy in the platform of a political party
economic policy
a government policy for maintaining economic growth and tax revenues
social policy
a policy of for dealing with social issues
party line
the policy of a political group
foreign policy
a policy governing international relations
zero-tolerance policy
any policy that allows no exception
a policy for establishing and developing a national homeland for Jews in Palestine
Type of:
abstract thought, logical thinking, reasoning
thinking that is coherent and logical

n persuasive but insincere talk that is usually intended to deceive or impress

“`let me show you my etchings' is a rather worn line
“he has a smooth line but I didn't fall for it”
“that salesman must have practiced his fast line of talk”
Type of:
persuasion, suasion
the act of persuading (or attempting to persuade); communication intended to induce belief or action

n acting in conformity

“in line with”
“he got out of line
“toe the line
Type of:
abidance, compliance, conformation, conformity
acting according to certain accepted standards

n mechanical system in a factory whereby an article is conveyed through sites at which successive operations are performed on it

assembly line, production line
Type of:
mechanical system
a system of elements that interact on mechanical principles

n a commercial organization serving as a common carrier

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airline, airline business, airway
a commercial enterprise that provides scheduled flights for passengers
railroad, railroad line, railway, railway line, railway system
line that is the commercial organization responsible for operating a system of transportation for trains that pull passengers or freight
steamship company, steamship line
a line responsible for the operation of a fleet of steamships
transit line
a line providing public transit
bus line
an organization responsible for operating a bus transportation system
cable railway, funicular, funicular railway
a railway up the side of a mountain pulled by a moving cable and having counterbalancing ascending and descending cars
cog railway, rack railway
railway for steep mountains; a cogwheel on the locomotive engages cogs on a center rail to provide traction
el, elevated, elevated railroad, elevated railway, overhead railway
a railway that is powered by electricity and that runs on a track that is raised above the street level
metro, subway, subway system, tube, underground
an electric railway operating below the surface of the ground (usually in a city)
a railway having a single track
short for railway
scenic railway
small railway in an amusement park
trolley line
a transit line using streetcars or trolley buses
a group of steamships operating together under the same ownership
Type of:
carrier, common carrier
a person or firm in the business of transporting people or goods or messages

n the principal activity in your life that you do to earn money

business, job, line of work, occupation
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the occupation and skills of a confectioner
the occupation of athletes who compete for pay
farming, land
agriculture considered as an occupation or way of life
biz, game
your occupation or line of work
calling, career, vocation
the particular occupation for which you are trained
employment, work
the occupation for which you are paid
the job to which you are (or hope to be) appointed
berth, billet, office, place, position, post, situation, spot
a job in an organization
salt mine, treadmill
a job involving drudgery and confinement
craft, trade
the skilled practice of a practical occupation
an occupation requiring special education (especially in the liberal arts or sciences)
medium, metier
an occupation for which you are especially well suited
accountancy, accounting
the occupation of maintaining and auditing records and preparing financial reports for a business
the occupation of taking and printing photographs or making movies
providing food and services
coaching, coaching job
the job of a professional coach
booking, engagement
employment for performers or performing groups that lasts for a limited period of time
the work of a minister of religion
navigation, sailing, seafaring
the work of a sailor
professional boxing
boxing for money
professional wrestling
wrestling for money
a Japanese form of wrestling; you lose if you are forced out of a small ring or if any part of your body (other than your feet) touches the ground
professional golf
playing golf for money
professional football
football played for pay
professional baseball
playing baseball for money
professional basketball
playing basketball for money
professional tennis
playing tennis for money
work load, workload
work that a person is expected to do in a specified time
work paid for according to the quantity produced
specialisation, specialism, speciality, specialization, specialty
the special line of work you have adopted as your career
the principal work of your career
walk, walk of life
careers in general
employment in or work for another
telecommuting, teleworking
employment at home while communicating with the workplace by phone or fax or modem
performance of duties or provision of space and equipment helpful to others
public service
employment within a government system (especially in the civil service)
the position of member of an honorary academy
the position of accountant
the office of admiral
the post of ambassador
the position of apostle
the position of apprentice
the position of associate (as in an office or academy)
the position of attorney
the office of bailiff
the state of a baronet
bishopry, episcopate
the office and dignity of a bishop
the position of cadet
the office of a caliph
captaincy, captainship
the post of captain
the office of cardinal
the position of chairman
the office of chancellor
chaplaincy, chaplainship
the position of chaplain
chieftaincy, chieftainship
the position of chieftain
the job of clerk
commandership, commandery
the position or office of commander
the position of comptroller
the post of consul
the position of controller
councillorship, councilorship
the position of council member
counsellorship, counselorship
the position of counselor
the position of a curate
the position of curator
the position of custodian
deanery, deanship
the position or office of a dean
the position of a director of a business concern
the position of disciple
the position of editor
the office of elder
the office of an emir
the status of a father
the status of a religious leader
the position of foreman
generalcy, generalship
the office and authority of a general
the office of governor
the position of head
the position of headmaster or headmistress
hot seat
a difficult position where you are subjected to stress and criticism
the office of an incumbent
the office of inspector
the position of instructor
the position of a medical intern
judgeship, judicature
the position of judge
the position of a khan
the post of lecturer
legateship, legation
the post or office of legate
the office of legislator
the position of librarian
the position of a lieutenant
magistracy, magistrature
the position of magistrate
the position of manager
the status of being a man
the post of marshall
the position of master
the position of mayor
the position of messiah
the position of moderator
the position of overlord
pastorate, pastorship
the position of pastor
the state of being a peasant
a highly desirable position or assignment
the office of praetor
the position of precentor
the position of preceptor
the office of prefect
prelacy, prelature
the office or station of a prelate
the office of premier
presidency, presidentship
the office and function of president
the office of primate
the post of principal
the office of prior
proconsulate, proconsulship
the position of proconsul
the position of proctor
chair, professorship
the position of professor
the position of protector
public office
a position concerning the people as a whole
the office or function of a rabbi
the office of a receiver
rectorate, rectorship
the office or station of a rector
the office of a regent
the position of physician who is receiving special training in a hospital (usually after completing an internship)
the position of ruler
the status and dignity of a saint
the position of secretary
feudal lordship, seigneury, seigniory
the position and authority of a feudal lord
the office of senator
an office that involves minimal duties
the position of solicitor
the position of Speaker
the position of steward
the position of student
the position of teacher
the position of thane
the position and power of an exalted person (a sovereign or bishop) who is entitled to sit in a chair of state on ceremonial occasions
the position of treasurer
the position of tribune
the position of trustee
the office and function of a vice president
the position of viceroy
the position of vizier
the position of warden
the position of warder
the status of a woman
business life, professional life
a career in industrial or commercial or professional activities
airplane mechanics
the craft of building and repairing airplanes
auto mechanics
the craft of building and repairing automobiles
the craft of basket making
carpentry, woodwork, woodworking
the craft of a carpenter: making things out of wood
drafting, mechanical drawing
the craft of drawing blueprints
the craft of making dresses
electrical work
the craft of an electrician
interior decoration, interior design
the trade of planning the layout and furnishings of an architectural interior
the trade of cutting or preparing or selling timber
the craft of a mason
the craft of an oculist
house painting, painting
the occupation of a house painter
the craft of making paper
pilotage, piloting
the occupation of a pilot
plumbery, plumbing
the occupation of a plumber (installing and repairing pipes and fixtures for water or gas or sewage in a building)
the craft of making earthenware
learned profession
one of the three professions traditionally believed to require advanced learning and high principles
the profession or art of a writer
the profession of designing buildings and environments with consideration for their esthetic effect
the profession of teaching (especially at a school or college or university)
the profession of reporting or photographing or editing news stories for one of the media
the profession devoted to governing and to political affairs
pyrotechnics, pyrotechny
the craft of making fireworks
cobbling, shoe repairing, shoemaking
the shoemaker's trade
the craft of a roofer
sheet-metal work
the craft of doing sheet metal work (as in ventilation systems)
the laying on of shingles
the occupation of a tailor
tool-and-die work
the craft of making special tools and dies
cost accounting
keeping account of the costs of items in production
bookkeeping, clerking
the activity of recording business transactions
inventory accounting
accounting that controls and evaluates inventory
a craft that requires skillful hands
paper route
the job of delivering newspapers regularly
act or process of minting coins
making leather from rawhide
engineering, technology
the practical application of science to commerce or industry
the craft of composing type and printing from it
the trade of a funeral director
the craft of upholstering
wine making, winemaking
the craft and science of growing grapes and making wine
Type of:
any specific behavior

n a particular kind of product or merchandise

“a nice line of shoes”
business line, line of business, line of merchandise, line of products, product line
an auxiliary line of merchandise
Type of:
merchandise, product, ware
commodities offered for sale

v reinforce with fabric

“lined b ooks are more enduring”
Type of:
reenforce, reinforce
make stronger

v cover the interior of

line the gloves”
line a chimney”
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provide with a new lining
line the edge (of a garment) with a different material
line with beams or planks
line with a Babbitt metal
put a new facing on (a garment)
Type of:
provide with a covering or cause to be covered

v fill plentifully

line one's pockets”
Type of:
fill, fill up, make full
make full, also in a metaphorical sense

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