from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A time limit, as for payment of a debt or completion of an assignment.
- n. A boundary line in a prison that prisoners can cross only at the risk of being shot.
- transitive v. To govern by setting a time limit: "He was never going to be deadlined by a day, or even a month” ( New Yorker).
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A date on or before which something must be completed.
- n. A guideline marked on a plate for a printing press.
- n. A line which doesn't move.
- n. A boundary around a prison.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the point in time at which something must be completed
The context of a due date originated in journalism, probably from an earlier usage in printing, representing a guideline marked on a plate for a printing press (inside which all content should appear). According to the Oxford English Dictionary, early usage refers simply to lines that do not move, such as one used in angling; slightly later American usage includes a boundary around a prison which prisoners must not cross. (Wiktionary)