Definition of redline in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrɛdlʌɪn/
North American informal


[with object]
1Drive with (a car engine) at or above its rated maximum revolutions per minute: both his engines were redlined now
More example sentences
  • Bored by the long drive, Willy and Grecs decided to pass the time by redlining an already heated engine with high speed in low gear.
  • Due to the very long stroke and alloy conrods, the motor is redlined at 7,000 and will definitely explode if persistently over-revved.
  • I redlined my A4's four-banger as we came up on the depot.
2Refuse (a loan or insurance) to someone because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk: banks have redlined loans to buyers
More example sentences
  • War on Poverty planners had argued that poverty persisted in distressed areas partly because banks and other businesses redlined them, starving them of the investment they needed to revive by refusing to do business there.
  • When black families found a way to buy homes in white neighborhoods, such as Riverside Terrace along Houston's Brays Bayou, the FHA would redline the area as high-risk.
  • Private banks, and the Federal Housing and Veterans administrations, favored homeowner loans to single-family dwellings in the ‘new homogeneous’ neighborhoods sprouting to the west, and redlined older areas of the city.
2.1Cancel (a project): this is not the time for the district to redline capital projects


1The maximum number of revolutions per minute for a car engine: just over halfway to its 5200 rpm redline
More example sentences
  • The ‘manual’ shifts are quick, and top marks to Honda for not incorporating automatic upshifts when the 7000 rpm redline is reached.
  • Acceleration is perfectly adequate up to about 80 mph, but the engine screams at redline when it's time to merge into highway traffic.
  • The second hint is the prodigious torque output and low engine redline.
2A boundary or limit which should not be crossed.
Example sentences
  • It's a clear indication that Labour's European stance, with all its talk on redlines and so on, has little credibility with the British people.


From the use of red as a limit marker, in sense 2 of the verb a limit marked out by ringing a section of a map.

Words that rhyme with redline

breadline, deadline, headline

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: red|line

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