1. countable noun
A line is a long thin mark which is drawn or painted on a surface. ⇒ Draw a line down that page's center. ⇒ ...a dotted line. ⇒ The ball had clearly crossed the line.
2. countable noun [usu pl] The lines on someone's skin, especially on their face, are long thin marks that appear there as they grow older. ⇒ He has a large, generous face with deep lines. ⇒ ...fine lines and wrinkles. 3. countable noun
A line of people or things is a number of them arranged one behind the other or side by side. [+ of] ⇒ The sparse line of spectators noticed nothing unusual.
4. countable noun A line of people or vehicles is a number of them that are waiting one behind another, for example in order to buy something or to go in a particular direction. ⇒ Children clutching empty bowls form a line. 5. countable noun
A line of a piece of writing is one of the rows of words, numbers, or other symbols in it. ⇒ The next line should read: Five days, 23.5 hours. ⇒ Tina wouldn't have read more than three lines.
6. plural noun In school, if a child is given lines, he or she is punished by being made to write out a sentence many times or to write out a passage from a book. [British] 7. countable noun A line of a poem, song, or play is a group of words that are spoken or sung together. If an actor learns his or her lines for a play or film, they learn what they have to say. [+ from] ⇒ ...a line from Shakespeare's Othello: 'one that loved not wisely but too well'. ⇒ Every time I sing that line, I have to compete with that bloody trombone! ⇒ Learning lines is very easy. Acting is very difficult. 8. countable noun [with supp] A particular type of line in a conversation is a remark that is intended to have a particular effect. ⇒ 'In time perhaps you'll marry again'. 'That's a great line, coming from you!'. ⇒ ...chat-up lines like 'You've got beautiful eyes'. 9. variable noun
You can refer to a long piece of wire, string, or cable as a line when it is used for a particular purpose. ⇒ She put her washing on the line. ⇒ ...a piece of fishing-line. ⇒ The winds downed power lines.
10. countable noun [oft on the N]
A line is a connection which makes it possible for two people to speak to each other on the telephone. ⇒ The telephone lines went dead. ⇒ It's not a very good line. Shall we call you back Susan? ⇒ She's on the line from her home in Boston.
11. countable noun [oft in names] You can use line to refer to a telephone number which you can ring in order to get information or advice. ⇒ ...the 24-hours information line. ⇒ ...details from Lesbian Line. 12. countable noun [usu pl] A line is a route, especially a dangerous or secret one, along which people move or send messages or supplies. ⇒ The American continent's geography severely limited the lines of attack. ⇒ Negotiators say they're keeping communication lines open. ⇒ ...the guerrillas' main supply lines. 13. countable noun The line in which something or someone moves is the particular route that they take, especially when they keep moving straight ahead. ⇒ Walk in a straight line. [+ of] ⇒ The wings were at right angles to the line of flight. 14. countable noun [oft in names] A line is a particular route, involving the same stations, roads, or stops along which a train or bus service regularly operates. ⇒ They've got to ride all the way to the end of the line. ⇒ Fires broke out at three railway stations, halting service on two commuter lines for several hours. ⇒ I would be able to stay on the Piccadilly Line and get off the tube at South Kensington. 15. countable noun
A railway line consists of the pieces of metal and wood which form the track that the trains travel along. ⇒ Leaves on the line are an expensive problem for the railways.
16. countable noun
A shipping, air, or bus line is a company which provides services for transporting people or goods by sea, air, or bus. [business] ⇒ The Foreign Office offered to pay the shipping line all the costs of diverting the ship to Bermuda.
17. countable noun [with supp] You can use line to refer to the edge, outline, or shape of an object or a person's body. ⇒ The garden has an informal feel to soften the architectural lines of the conservatory. ⇒ ...a sculptured evening dress that follows the lines of the body. 18. countable noun [usu sing]
A state or county line is a boundary between two states or counties. [US] ⇒ ...the California state line.
19. countable noun You can use lines to refer to the set of physical defences or the soldiers that have been established along the boundary of an area occupied by an army. ⇒ Their unit was shelling the German lines only seven miles away. ⇒ ...the stupendous fortification they called the Maginot Line. 20. countable noun [usu sing] The particular line that a person has towards a problem is the attitude that they have towards it. For example, if someone takes a hard line on something, they have a firm strict policy which they refuse to change. ⇒ Forty members of the governing Conservative party rebelled, voting against the government line. ⇒ Most members of Parliament took a hard line on this issue. 21. countable noun You can use line to refer to the way in which someone's thoughts or activities develop, particularly if it is logical. ⇒ Our discussion in the previous chapter continues this line of thinking. [+ of] ⇒ What are some of the practical benefits likely to be of this line of research? 22. plural noun If you say that something happens along particular lines, or on particular lines, you are giving a general summary or approximate account of what happens, which may not be correct in every detail. ⇒ There followed an assortment of praise for the coffee along the lines of 'Hey, this coffee is fantastic!'. ⇒ He'd said something along those lines already. ⇒ Our forecast for 1990 was on the right lines. ⇒ The main lines of the plan were a reduction in expenditure and the rationalization of government controls. 23. plural noun
If something is organized on particular lines, or along particular lines, it is organized according to that method or principle. ⇒ ...so-called autonomous republics based on ethnic lines. ⇒ ...reorganising old factories to work along Japanese lines.
24. countable noun
Your line of business or work is the kind of work that you do. [business] [+ of] ⇒ So what was your father's line of business? [+ of] ⇒ In my line of work I often get home too late for dinner.
25. singular noun [poss N] If someone says that something is your line, or that it is in your line, they mean that it is the sort of thing that you often do because you enjoy doing it. [informal] ⇒ Wild guesses aren't much in my line. ⇒ Perhaps doing voluntary work is more your line? 26. countable noun
A line is a particular type of product that a company makes or sells. ⇒ His best selling line is the cheapest lager at £1.99.
27. singular noun [the n N]
You can use line to refer to something connected with a particular activity. For example, something in the sports line is connected with sports. ⇒ Most kids can do something in the art line.
28. countable noun In a factory, a line is an arrangement of workers or machines where a product passes from one worker to another until it is finished. ⇒ ...a production line capable of producing three different products. 29. countable noun [with supp] You can use line to refer to all the generations of a family, especially when you are considering the social status or the physical characteristics that the various members inherit. ⇒ ...the old Welsh royal line descended from Arthur and Uther Pendragon. ⇒ This title will only pass down through the male line. 30. countable noun [usu sing]
You can use line when you are referring to a number of people who are ranked according to status. [+ of] ⇒ Nicholas Paul Patrick was seventh in the line of succession to the throne. ⇒ The line of command went from head office in Chicago to a regional boss and then down to a country boss and finally to a local-office managing-partner. [+ for] ⇒ ...the man who stands next in line for the presidency.
31. countable noun [usu sing]
A particular line of people or things is a series of them that has existed over a period of time, when they have all been similar in some way, or done similar things. [+ of] ⇒ We were part of a long line of artists. [+ of] ⇒ It's the latest in a long line of tragedies.
If people or things line a road, room, or other place, they are present in large numbers along its edges or sides. [V n] ⇒ Thousands of local people lined the streets and clapped as the procession went by. [V-ed] ⇒ ...a square lined with pubs and clubs.
combining form ⇒ ...a long tree-lined drive. 33. verb If you line a wall, container, or other object, you put a layer of something such as leaves or paper on the inside surface of it in order to make it stronger, warmer, or cleaner. [V n] ⇒ Scoop the blanket weed out and use it to line hanging baskets. [V n + with] ⇒ Female bears tend to line their dens with leaves or grass. -lined
combining form ⇒ ...a dark, suede-lined case. 34. verb
If something lines a container or area, especially an area inside a person, animal, or plant, it forms a layer on the inside surface. [V n] ⇒ ...the muscles that line the intestines.
COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © Harper Collins Publishers