line

line
In Fanny Burney's Cecilia (1782) the question is asked Where, then, do you draw the line?, meaning how far can a person expect to be independent. The image of drawing lines has fed English idiom for several centuries, extending to the more explicit notion of (1) a line drawn under something (by which a difficult or embarrassing period of events is regarded as resolved or finished:

• The eviction of a similar number of British diplomats from Moscow will be taken as a signal that Russia wishes to draw a line under the whole affair —Daily Telegraph, 2007)

and (2) a line drawn in the sand (suggesting a limit to movement or action much as a line in the sand marks a physical limit:

• He had crossed a line in the sand etched by decades of sectarian division —Sunday Mail, 2004).

The second form of the phrase tends to be used in the same way as the first, however, even to the extent of producing absurdities such as the following:

• All further discussion is redundant, so let's draw a line in the sand under the entire episode —Morning Star, 2004.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Line — Line, n. [OE. line, AS. l[=i]ne cable, hawser, prob. from L. linea a linen thread, string, line, fr. linum flax, thread, linen, cable; but the English word was influenced by F. ligne line, from the same L. word linea. See {Linen}.] 1. A linen… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • line — [laɪn] noun [countable] 1. also product line MARKETING a type of product that a company makes or sells, often with several different sizes, models etc; = RANGE: • It continues to get about two thirds of it …   Financial and business terms

  • line — line1 [līn] n. [ME merging OE, a cord, with OFr ligne (both < L linea, lit., linen thread, n. use of fem. of lineus, of flax < linum, flax)] 1. a) a cord, rope, wire, string, or the like b) a long, fine, strong cord with a hook, sinker,… …   English World dictionary

  • Line — or lines may refer to: * Line (geometry), an infinitely extending one dimensional figure that has no curvature * a length of rope, cable or chain when put to use (such as a clothesline, anchor line) * a line or queue of people waiting in a queue… …   Wikipedia

  • Line 1 — or 1 line may refer to: Public transport Asia China Line 1, Beijing Subway, subway line in Beijing Line 1, Guangzhou Metro, metro line in Guangzhou, Guangdong Line 1 (Shanghai), a metro line of Shanghai Metro, Shanghai, China Japan Kūkō Line… …   Wikipedia

  • Line 4 — or 4 Line may refer to: Public transport 4 (New York City Subway service) Barcelona Metro line 4, line in the Barcelona Metro network operated by TMB Line 4, Beijing Subway, in Beijing, China Line 4 (Budapest Metro), fourth line of Budapest Metro …   Wikipedia

  • line — Ⅰ. line [1] ► NOUN 1) a long, narrow mark or band. 2) a length of cord, wire, etc. serving a purpose. 3) a row or connected series of people or things. 4) a row of written or printed words. 5) a direction, course, or channel. 6) …   English terms dictionary

  • line# — line n Line, row, rank, file, echelon, tier are comparable when meaning a series of things arranged in continuous or uniform order. Line means little more than this, except when it is attached to a specific application that increases its… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Line 6 — es un fabricante de modeladores digitales para guitarras eléctricas, guitarras acústicas, amplificadores y procesadores de efectos. Line 6 fue fundada a mediados de la década de 1990 y tiene su sede en Calabasas, California. Después de años de… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Line 7 — or 7 Line may refer to: 7 (New York City Subway service) Barcelona Metro line 7, metro like commuter train line in the Barcelona Metro Mexico City Metro Line 7, a rapid transit line in Mexico City Line 7, Beijing Subway, a rapid transit rail line …   Wikipedia

  • Line 9 — or 9 Line may refer to: 9 (New York City Subway service) Barcelona Metro line 9, one of the two branches of the Barcelona metro extension line 9/10 Mexico City Metro Line 9, a rapid transit line in Mexico City Line 9, Beijing Subway, a subway… …   Wikipedia

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