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English definition of “line”

line

noun [C]     /laɪn/
COMMERCE a range of similar products: There are discounts on many items from our older lines. As with other books in this publisher's line, this one is written for a popular audience. I showed them all our new product lines.line of sth The company's spring line of handbags is wonderful.lines of bonds/stocks/shares The state is selling three lines of bonds.
PRODUCTION a system of making goods in which a worker repeatedly does the same tasks on every item and then passes it to the next worker: The first year they had me on the line putting wheels on Cadillacs.assembly/processing/production line Eight additional production lines were installed in the town's only factory. a line foreman/supervisor
COMMUNICATIONS a connection to a telephone or data system: I'm afraid your phone line has been disconnected. The company's first fibre-optic lines were installed in 1998. Keep the lines open in case the boss calls with a final decision.on the line Mike Saunders is on the line for you.
a connection to a public service for water, liquid waste, or electricity: Power transmission lines were out for three weeks after the hurricane. Interference from the electric lines caused the equipment to malfunction. Construction workers installed a water line where Walnut Avenue and First Street intersect.
a series of people that follow each other in time: He comes from a long line of entrepreneurs.
a series of people in order of importance: the first/second, etc. in line He is second in line to take over the company.
someone's job, industry, or area of activity: "What line of work are you in?" "I'm a professor." You meet some very interesting people in my line of business.
BANKING a way of getting money: line of credit/revenue Your bank can raise your line of credit if you have a good payment history.
a group of people or things arranged in a row: march/stand/wait in line If you don't like standing in line, do your part to make sure you're an efficient customer.
TRANSPORT a company that transports people or goods: a railway/shipping line The shipping line carried fewer containers last year
bring sth into line (with sth) to make something the same as or similar to something else: He'd like to bring the pay of an Army private into line with that of a police constable.
come/get/fall into line to start to officially agree with a plan or idea or to do something in the same way as other people, organizations, companies, etc.: We are considering legal action if they do not come into line soon.
in the firing line (also in the line of fire) likely to receive criticism or to lose a job: Next in the environment firing line are the CEOs of the world's biggest chemical companies. Jack put himself in the line of fire by talking to the press about our problems.
get sb in line to make someone agree to your way of doing something: If we have to change supervisors to get everybody in line, we will. You better get your people in line, or you'll lose the battle for market share.
hold the line COMMUNICATIONS to keep a someone waiting on the telephone: Will you hold the line while I check my calendar? to continue to have an opinion, especially after a lot of argument: She must hold the line against this kind of criticism. to keep a price or amount of money at the same level: The aim of the current administration is to hold the line on taxes. The chancellor has agreed to hold the line on tuition costs for in-state students next year.
in line for sth likely to get something: American banks are first in line for the small, low-risk deals. Mortgage brokers could be next in line for a ban on commissions.
in line to do sth to have a very good chance of doing something: The water company is in line to make a 7% efficiency cost-saving on the project.
in line with sth similar to something or at the same level as something: The company's results are in line withstock market expectations. We are seeking a pay rise that's in line with inflation.
on the line if something is on the line, it could easily be lost or destroyed: When it's your personal credibility on the line, it's best to stop making crude jokes in meetings. He put his career on the line when he went public about his employer's lies.
toe the line (US also toe the mark) to behave according to an official rule, especially when you do not agree with it: The new guy is better salesman and will toe the marketing department's line much more closely.
→ See also airline, assembly line, bottom line, credit line, fixed-line, full line, helpline, landline, offline, online adverb, production line, wireline
(Definition of line noun from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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