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Love works a different way in different minds, the fool it enlightens and the wise it blinds.
John Dryden
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See also Line



From Middle English line, from Old English līne (‘cable, hawser’), probably from [[w:Template:lang:la language|Template:lang:la]][[Category:Template:lang:la derivations]] linea (‘linen thread, string, line’) or linum (‘flax, thread, linen, cable’) or a conflation of both of those words. The English word was influenced by the French ligne (‘line’), which derives from the same Latin word, linea.





line (s)
  1. A rope, cord, string, or thread; a slender, strong cord, or a cord of any thickness; a hawser.
    (A date for this quote is being sought): Who so layeth lines for to latch fowls. — Piers Plowman
    fishing line, anchor line, clothesline, towline
  2. A path through two or more points (see also segment); a continuous mark.
    • 1816: Percy Shelley, The Daemon of the World
      The atmosphere in flaming sparkles flew; / And where the burning wheels / Eddied above the mountain’s loftiest peak / Was traced a line of lightning.
  3. A more or less threadlike mark of a pen, pencil, or graver; any long mark.
    a chalk line
  4. (geometry) An infinitely extending one-dimensional figure that has no curvature; one that has length but not breadth or thickness.
  5. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A line segment; a continuous finite segment of such a figure.
  6. A row of letters, text, words, etc, written or printed, as on paper or a CRT screen; especially a row of words extending across a page or column.
  7. A sentence of dialogue in a script or screenplay, or delivered by an actor or performer.
    (A date for this quote is being sought): It’s a small part, I have 12 lines in the movie. — Geneveve Bujold in Earthquake
  8. The official, stated position (or set of positions) of an individual or group, particularly a political or religious faction.
    Remember, your answers must match the party line.
    (A date for this quote is being sought): Their line is gone out through all the earth. — Ps. xix. 4
  9. A letter, a written form of communication.
    Drop me a line.
  10. The wire connecting one telegraphic station with another, a telephone or internet cable between two points: a telephone or network connection.
    I tried to make a call, but the line was dead.
    a dedicated line
    a shared line
  11. A more-or-less straight sequence of people, objects, etc., often waiting to be processed or dealt with, a queue; a continued series or rank.
    The line forms on the right.
    There is a line of houses.
  12. (military) A row of men who are abreast of one another, whether side by side or some distance apart; opposed to column.
    Painting of Prussian Infantry attacking in lines during the Battle of Hohenfriedberg.
    • 1817: Percy Shelley, The Revolt of Islam
      A band of brothers gathering round me, made, / Although unarmed, a steadfast front, [...] now the line / Of war extended, to our rallying cry / As myriads flocked in love and brotherhood to die.
    (A date for this quote is being sought): Unite thy forces and attack their lines. — Dryden
  13. (military) The regular infantry of an army, as distinguished from militia, guards, volunteer corps, cavalry, artillery, etc.
  14. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A trench or rampart.
    • 1917, John Masefield, The Old Front Line
      This description of the old front line, as it was when the Battle of the Somme began, may some day be of use. [...] It is hoped that this description of the line will be followed by an account of our people's share in the battle.
  15. The products or services sold by a business.
    line of business
    product line
  16. From the services a business sells, the business itself.
    How many buses does the line have?
    The airline is in danger of bankruptcy.
    A ship of the line.
  17. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) The position in which the fencers hold their swords.
  18. (graph theory) An edge of a graph.
  19. (cricket) The horizontal path of a ball towards the batsman (see also length).
  20. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) The batter’s box.
  21. (obsolete) Flax; linen, particularly the longer fiber of flax.
    (A date for this quote is being sought): Garments made of line. — Spenser
  22. The course followed by anything in motion; hence, a road or route.
    The arrow descended in a curved line.
    The place is remote from lines of travel.
  23. Direction
    the line of sight or the line of vision
  24. (poetic) A verse, or the words which form a certain number of feet, according to the measure.
    (A date for this quote is being sought): In the preceding line Ulysses speaks of Nausicaa. — Broome
  25. Course of conduct, thought, occupation, or policy; method of argument; department of industry, trade, or intellectual activity.
    (A date for this quote is being sought): He is uncommonly powerful in his own line, but it is not the line of a first-rate man. — Coleridge
  26. The exterior limit of a figure, plat, or territory; a boundary; a contour; an outline; a demarcation.
    • 1674John Milton, Paradise Lost, book IV
      Eden stretchd her Line / From Auran Eastward to the Royal Towrs / Of great Seleucia,
  27. A threadlike crease marking the face or the hand; hence, characteristic mark.
    (A date for this quote is being sought): Though on his brow were graven lines austere. — Byron
    (A date for this quote is being sought): He tipples palmistry, and dines On all her fortune-telling lines. — Cleveland
  28. Lineament; feature; figure (of one's body).
  29. A series or succession of ancestors or descendants of a given person; a family or race; compare lineage.
  30. A connected series of public conveyances, and hence, an established arrangement for forwarding merchandise, etc.
    a line of stages
    an express line
  31. The track and roadbed of a railway; railroad.
  32. (geography) A circle of latitude or of longitude, as represented on a map.
  33. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) The equator.
    to cross the line
  34. A long tape, or a narrow ribbon of steel, etc., marked with subdivisions, as feet and inches, for measuring; a tapeline.
  35. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) That which was measured by a line, as a field or any piece of land set apart; hence, allotted place of abode.
    (A date for this quote is being sought): The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yes. I have a goodly heritage. — Ps. xvi. 6
  36. (engineering) The proper relative position or adjustment of parts, not as to design or proportion, but with reference to smooth working.
    the engine is in line or out of line
  37. (music) One of the straight horizontal and parallel prolonged strokes on and between which the notes are placed.
  38. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A number of shares taken by a jobber.
  39. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A series of various qualities and values of the same general class of articles.
    a full line of hosiery
    a line of merinos
  40. A measure of length equal to one twelfth of an inch.
    • 1883: Alfred Swaine Taylor, Thomas Stevenson, The principles and practice of medical jurisprudence
      The cutis measures in thickness from a quarter of a line to a line and a half (a line is one-twelfth of an inch).
  41. (nautical) A rope on a nautical vessel. (Usually a rope is still in its packing; usually, once removed, it is 'line'.)
  42. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A hose.


Related terms

Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


to line

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to line (third-person singular simple present lin, present participle ing, simple past and past participle -)
  1. (transitive) To cover the inside/inner surface of (something).
    The bird lines its nest with soft grass.
    to line a cloak with silk or fur
    to line a box with paper or tin
  2. (transitive) To fill or supply (something), as a purse with money.
    (A date for this quote is being sought): The charge amounteth very high for any one man’s purse, except lined beyond ordinary, to reach unto. — Carew.
  3. (transitive) To place (objects) into a line (usually used with "up"); to form into a line; to align.
    to line troops
  4. (transitive) To place persons or things along the side of for security or defense; to strengthen by adding; to fortify.
    to line works with soldiers
  5. (transitive) To mark with a line or lines, to cover with lines.
    to line a copy book
  6. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To represent by lines; to delineate; to portray.
  7. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To impregnate (applied to brute animals). — Creech.
  8. (transitive) To read or repeat line by line.
    to line out a hymn
  9. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To form or enter into a line.
  10. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) To hit a line drive; to hit a line drive which is caught for an out. Compare fly and ground.
    • Jones lined to left in his last at-bat.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


Part or all of this page has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.

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