Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An anchored line thrown as a support to someone falling or drowning.
  • n. A line shot to a ship in distress.
  • n. A line used to raise and lower deep-sea divers.
  • n. A means or route by which necessary supplies are transported.
  • n. One that is or is regarded as a source of salvation in a crisis.
  • n. A diagonal line crossing the palm of the hand and believed to indicate the length and major events of one's life.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A line to which a drowning or falling victim may cling to.
  • n. A means or route for transporting indispensable supplies.
  • n. A source of salvation in a crisis.
  • n. On the deck of a boat, a line to which one can attach oneself to stay aboard on rough seas

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A line attached to a life boat, or to any life saving apparatus, to be grasped by a person in the water.
  • n. The anem given to one of the creases on the palm; its length is said by palmists to indicate how long one will live.
  • n. A line or rope which raises or lowers a deep-sea diver.
  • n. A line from a vessel that people in a body of water can cling to to save themselves from drowning.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Nautical: A rope stretched anywhere on a vessel for the safety of the men in bad weather or when they are manning yards: in the latter case it is stretched from the mast to the lift.
  • n. One of several lines attached to a life-buoy or life-boat, to enable a person in the water to reach the boat or buoy more readily.
  • n. A line used by firemen to lower people from a burning building.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a crease on the palm; its length is said by palmists to indicate how long you will live
  • n. line that raises or lowers a deep-sea diver
  • n. line thrown from a vessel that people can cling to in order to save themselves from drowning
  • n. support that enables people to survive or to continue doing something (often by providing an essential connection)
  • n. a crease on the palm; its length is said by palmists to indicate how long you will live

Etymologies

From life + line. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Liverpool, which routed both United and Villa before the two-week international break, looked set to squander the title lifeline those results provided in a frustrating match at Fulham.

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  • In order to succeed, both personally and professionally, you need to be surrounded by an indispensable circle of trusted advisers, mentors, and colleagues -- what I call lifeline relationships.

    Keith Ferrazzi: Who's Got Your Back: The Dream Team (Part 2 of 5)

  • However, she also signaled she would fight the cut in funding for small-business development centers, which she described as a "lifeline that we must strengthen not weaken."

    NYT > Home Page

  • Carey's strike gave his Parkhead pals hope of a title lifeline b e f o r e Gers hit back.

    The Daily Record - Home

  • Moeller said the council isn't likely to support a budget for the group unless at least a portion of the money goes to McMorran Place, which he called the lifeline for downtown.

    Paul & Matt's Sports Attack

  • In order to succeed, both personally and professionally, you need to be surrounded by an indispensable circle of trusted advisors, mentors, and colleagues - what I call lifeline relationships.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • One of the Assad administration's only friends during Syria's period of isolation following the 2003 invasion of Iraq and again after the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, fast-growing Turkey has become Syria's biggest trading partner and Damascus' long-term lifeline, both economically and geopolitically.

    Joshua W. Walker: Syria: Turkey's Litmus Test in the New Middle East

  • Unable to pay its suppliers, or now, it seems, its workers, Saab was thrown a short-term lifeline yesterday by an order for 582 cars for which an unidentified Chinese company will pay upfront.

    China and the EU: The longest of marches | Editorial

  • STOCKHOLM— Swedish Automobile NV on Monday secured another short-term lifeline when an unidentified Chinese company bought 582 Saab cars for €13 million $18.4 million in cash, money the company wants to use to pay employee wages and some of the unpaid bills it owes its suppliers.

    Saab Auto's Bulk Sale Provides a Reprieve

  • Iran Air, a state airline, is the main lifeline for Iranians with the outside world.

    U.S. deal with European oil firms hobbles Iran Air

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