General English


  • noun a thin continuous mark as made by a pencil, pen, etc. or printed
  • noun a real or imaginary mark placed in relation to points of reference
  • noun a long row of people, etc.
  • noun a company which owns and manages a system of transportation routes


  • noun a long mark printed or written on paper
  • noun a row of letters or figures on a page
  • noun a block of shares (traded on a Stock Exchange)


  • noun a series of things, one after another
  • noun a type of goods produced or sold by someone


  • noun a physical connection for data transmission, e.g. a cable between parts of a system or a telephone wire
  • noun single long thin mark drawn by a pen or printed on a surface
  • noun one trace by the electron picture beam on a television screen
  • noun row of characters (printed on a page or displayed on a computer screen or printer)
  • noun series of characters received as a single input by a computer
  • noun one row of commands or arguments in a computer program


  • A marked or defined limit or border.


  • noun the direction of the bowled ball’s flight from wicket to wicket
    Citation ‘Two overs later Border was caught at first slip as he tried to take his bat away from the line’ (Mike Selvey, Guardian 7 July 1993)
  • noun the degree of accuracy and control, with regard to the direction of the ball’s flight (rather than the point at which it pitches) with which a bowler delivers the ball
    Citation ‘Kasper is not an out and out quick but has great command of line and can be quite sharp’ (Nadeem Shahid, Cricketer September 1994)


  • A straight or curved length which is considered to have a width of zero. Also, that which resembles this.
  • A physical medium, such as a wire, cable, or waveguide, which serves to transmit or otherwise convey signals, data, electricity, or electromagnetic radiation between points. Examples include communication lines, power lines, and antenna transmission lines. Also called transmission line (1).
  • In a CRT, the line formed by a complete horizontal movement of the electron beam. Also called horizontal line.
  • In a CRT, the path followed by the electron beam as it moves across the screen. Also called trace (2).
  • In fax, one horizontal scanning element.
  • One of multiple force lines.


  • verb to cover the inside of a cake tin, pudding bowl or other container with something edible, e.g. bacon, or something non-edible, e.g. greaseproof paper, usually to prevent the enclosed food from sticking to the container

Information & Library Science

  • noun a row of words or figures in a text
  • noun a type of product that a company makes or sells
  • noun a long piece of wire used to connect communications

Media Studies

  • noun a sentence or short piece of dialogue which an actor has to deliver


  • noun a long thin feature which connects or appears to connect two or more points
  • noun a tactical formation where troops or vehicles move side by side in a single extended line
  • noun an electrical cable used to connect field telephones to each other
  • verb to form a line above the edge of something


  • noun a portion of cocaine, amphetamine or other drug ready for snorting. The powdered crystals of the drug are scraped into a strip (quite literally ‘a line of coke/speed’), typically on a mirror, tile or similar surface, so that they can be sniffed through a straw, rolled banknote, or any other improvised tube.


  • noun a long narrow mark that shows the boundary of any of the divisions of a playing area or race track
  • noun either of the two rows of opposing players facing each other on either side of the line of scrimmage


  • noun a row of people or vehicles waiting one behind the other
  • noun to put a lining in something

Origin & History of “line”

The closest modern English line comes to its ancestor is probably in the fisherman’s ‘rod and line’ – a ‘string’ or ‘chord’. For it goes back to Latin līnea ‘string’. this was a derivative of līnum ‘flax’ (source of English linen), and hence meant etymologically ‘flaxen thread’. English acquired it in two separate phases. first of all it was borrowed directly from Latin in the Old English period, and then it made a return appearance via Old French ligne in the 14th century; the two have coalesced to form modern English line. Derived forms include lineage (14th c.), lineal (15th c.), lineament (15th c.), and liner (19th c.). The last is based on the sense ‘shipping line’, which goes back to the notion of a ‘line’ or succession of ships plying between ports.