Definition of lifeline in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlīfˌlīn/


1A rope or line used for life-saving, typically one thrown to rescue someone in difficulties in water or one used by sailors to secure themselves to a boat.
Example sentences
  • After nearly half an hour they were spotted by the crew of a passing boat, and a lifeline was thrown to Rachel who was pulled aboard.
  • Al snatched at a fleeting memory like a drowning sailor grabbing a lifeline.
  • At least two people had to be rescued using a lifeline and life jackets as they were pulled through the fast flowing water.
1.1A line used by a diver for sending signals to the surface.
Example sentences
  • Eventually, a lifeline arrives from the surface allowing fresh oxygen and limited communication.
  • While the lake was ice-free, surface vessels kept the lifeline in operation, and pipelines and electric cables were laid under the water.
  • The tender operated or supervised the hand or kerosene-powered air pump and controlled the rope lifeline to his diver.
2A thing on which someone or something depends or which provides a means of escape from a difficult situation: fertility treatment can seem like a lifeline to childless couples
More example sentences
  • The Swindon and District branch of Headway, based at Victoria Hospital, provides a lifeline to Swindonians after they leave hospital.
  • When Sophie fell poorly with glandular fever and then chronic fatigue syndrome her home computer provided a lifeline to the outside world.
  • MAX, as the light-rail system is called, hasn't just reduced traffic - it's provided a lifeline for the city's downtown.
3(In palmistry) a line on the palm of a person’s hand, regarded as indicating how long they will live.
Example sentences
  • This is for Joyce, since I have been largely unable to determine the answer to her question about mysteriously getting a cut on the lifeline of your palm.
  • The club should lie across the fingers, not in the palm, and the lifeline of your right hand needs to be firmly placed on top of the left thumb.
  • Your left thumb should meet your right hand where your lifeline and heartline intersect.


throw a lifeline to (or throw someone a lifeline)

Provide (someone) with a means of escaping from a difficult situation.
Example sentences
  • The deal threw a lifeline to more than 150 employees as well as thousands of customers who hold vouchers for activities such as hot air balloon flights and bungee jumping.
  • The introduction of aviation to remote islands did more than just provide a link to the mainland, it threw a lifeline to the whole community.
  • As happens so often when a side fails to take its chances, it throws a lifeline to the opposition.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: life·line

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