Green’s Dictionary of Slang

line n.1

In compounds

line-shooter (n.) [shoot a line ]

one who talks pretentiously or boasts.

[UK]G. Gibson Enemy Coast Ahead (1955) 40: One of the boys claimed already to have made the grade with one, but he was a bit of a line-shooter about these things.
D.H. Clarke What Were They Like to Fly? 11: I have, on very many occasions — then and since — been accused of being a line-shooter. I am a line-shooter!
J. Fishman Long Knives and Short Memories 435: Rudolf Hess would not be the first soldier to prove to be a line-shooter about ‘wounds’.

In phrases

dead line (n.) [fig. use of US milit. jargon dead line, a line drawn around a military prison, beyond which a prisoner is liable to be shot down]

(US) the red light area of a town or city; also attrib.

[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 14: The chief wants t’ ask us to break a bottle o’ sham or to notify us that he has shifted the dead-line further down town so’s to give the likes o’ us a chanst t’ turn an honest penny.
[US]F. Packard Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) I ii: Pete Lazanis, commonly called the Runt, who was a power below the dead line.
[US]N. Anderson Hobo 114: By ‘dead line men’ are meant men who live on Madison west of Canal Street. Men ‘living’ on Clark, State, and Dearborn streets are more reliable and stand a better chance than the ‘dead line men’ to get jobs.
[US](con. late 19C) C. Jeffords Shady Ladies of the Old West [Internet] Many towns [...] had an ‘anything-goes’ suburb and a ‘deadline’ below which men could do pretty much as they pleased.
do a line (v.) (also do lines)

(drugs) to inhale cocaine.

[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 93: Deborah had just done a line of uncut snow.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 79: Do a few lines on his favorite glass table, watch some ho suck his dick underneath.
[US]T. Dorsey Stingray Shuffle 129: He leaned over and did a line.
do a line (with) (v.) (also knock a line (with))

1. (Aus.) of a man, to talk amorously and seductively; of either sex, to talk persuasively.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 1 Aug. 12/4: At a gay little township in North Queensland two book-canvassers met. [...] Such was their hilarity that, when they started out ‘to do a line before (hic) dinner,’ they had managed to swop prospectuses, so the Bible man [...] expatiated on the excellence of his edition of ‘the secret of England’s greatness,’ pointing his arguments by a specimen of Dante’s ‘Inferno.’.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 83: A man might do a line with her, dippy or not.
[Aus]K. Tennant Joyful Condemned 3: Go on in and do a line with him. [Ibid.] 35: Promising himself despite rebuffs that sometime he ‘might do a line with the piece upstairs’.
[Aus]G. Hamilton Summer Glare 68: Cliff and Alec are doin’ a line with her.
[Ire]T. McDonagh My Green Age 105: I even did a line for a while with a nurse from Galway [...] I had met her at a St Patrick's Night Dance run by the London-Irish Rugby Club .

2. (Irish) to have a sexual relationship, a courtship.

[Aus]N. Lindsay Age Of Consent 174: You’re a nice little sheila, Cora; what about doing a line with me?
[UK]P. Kavanagh Tarry Flynn (1965) 126: May Callan who was ‘doing a line’ with a young fellow from the town appeared on the old road with her boyfriend.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 232/2: do a line with – take a shine to a girl, take a walk with her.
[NZ]N. Hilliard Maori Girl 190: I’d like to do a line with that fellow.
[Ire](con. 1930s) P. Crosbie Your Dinner’s Poured Out! 117: When a boy or girl became friendly, they commenced to ‘do a line’.
[UK](con. 1930s) M. Verdon Shawlies, Echo Boys, the Marsh and the Lanes 81: I got married late. We all did. We were years ‘doing a line’, as they called it. Some might do a line for ten, fifteen years before they tied the knot.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] Doing a line (phr): courting, seeing someone.
down the line (n.)

1. visiting a red-light district in search of sexual intercourse.

[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 177: I can’t stay in there. I’ll go down the line and get drunk, I guess.
(ref. to late 19C) in S. Longstreet Nell Kimball by Herself (1981) 90: Most of the trade were regulars or their friends in town for a visit; ‘going down the line’ it was called.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 121: LINE. – A tenderloin or restricted district. In smaller cities and towns the disorderly resorts are situated on one or more streets, close together, and usually within one or two blocks. Going ‘down the line’ is applied to the weekly or more frequent visits by the men who visit these resorts in search of ‘pleasure.’.

2. see on the line under line n.1

dusty line (n.) [SE dusty + line n.1 (2b)]

(US black) a piece of outmoded slang.

[UK]J. Mowry Way Past Cool n.p.: One dusty line after another come outta his mouth.
[US]C. Major Juba to Jive 155: Dusty line n. (1980s–1990s) an old or obsolete expression or slang term.
feed a line (v.) (also feed)

to deceive through a cunning story or excessive charm, to persuade, to talk smoothly.

[US]R. Chandler Playback 91: You’re being fed a line.
[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 28: He wasn’t feeding me a line or nothing.
[US](con. 1950s) H. Junker ‘The Fifties’ in Eisen Age of Rock 2 (1970) 102: Coming on like Gang Busters. Are you trying to feed me a line?
[UK]‘Derek Raymond’ He Died with His Eyes Open 55: They’re only business cunts and that; they only want to be made to feel they’re something special [...] don’t cost the driver fuck all to feed em a bit.
[NZ] McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl.
get a line on (v.)

(orig. US) to understand, to acquire information about; thus give a line on, to impart information or knowledge.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 July 15/2: The Pingara fizzle gives little encouragement to take a short price about any of Miller’s horses for next Saturday’s steeplechase. Recent rains have prevented those wealthy and not very communicative sportsmen from getting a line, as it is called, with their candidates.
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 7: I think I’ll give the bank a line on Percy. Any man that wears that kind of a necktie had n’t ought to handle money.
[US]Sun (N.Y.) 18 Nov. 4: These dressmakers [...] cannot get a line on the styles except at the Horse Show [DA].
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 49: His first move is to send the girl in to get a line on us.
[US]Van Loan ‘Loosening Up of Hogan’ in Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 137: Not even Ernie Lanigan [...] was able to ‘get a line’ on Hogan.
[US]Fort Wayne Sentinel 4 June 8/6: Round the Stanton House there in Indianapolis there was a bunch of traveling men and they gave me a line on the correct slang in various parts of the country.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 132: It wouldn’t be a bad move to get a line on G. Hayward’s form.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Big Umbrella’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 560: We get a line on what is doing, and what is doing is that the people wish Jonas to be king again.
[US]B. Frame Crown Jewels are Missing 36: The Pinkerton men, efficient as they were, could not immediately get a line on what had happened.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 92: He thought he might get a line on his friend.
[UK]A. Sinclair My Friend Judas (1963) 61: I got me a line on the philosophes.
[US]M. Puzo Godfather 115: Maybe he figured we’re just stalling until [...] we can get a line on him.
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 53: I got a line that the brothers’re mobbing up.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 38: ‘I’m looking for Fat Dog Baker,’ I said. ‘He told me I could get a line on him here.’.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 149: You got the line on this guy yet?
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 78: Rule told Moline to get a line on the second guy.
get someone in a line (v.)

(UK Und.) to engage a victim in conversation while an accomplice is robbing them.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 250: line: to get a person in a line, or in a string, is to engage them in a conversation, while your confederate is robbing their person or premises.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1812].
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 21: Line, getting into a – confusing a person, imposing on any body’s belief by joking.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open [as cit. 1835].
hand (out) a line (v.)

to deceive through a cunning story or excessive charm.

[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ John Henry 17: I [...] handed my lady friend a line of talk.
[US]N.Y. Eve. Journal 18 Sept. in Fleming Unforgettable Season (1981) 227: John T. Brush handed Brother Bingham a line of conversation regarding the necessity of policing the grounds [...that Bingham fell for.
[US]Ade Knocking the Neighbors 107: She could hand out that Dear Boy line of Polite Guff to all of those rugged and self-made Bucks.
[US]R. Whitfield Green Ice (1988) 13: You can’t hand me that line, Mal Ourney.
[US]A. Kober Having Wonderful Time (1975) [play script] 159: I don’t hand out a line of schmoos — not even in business.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]S. King It (1987) 339: What kind of line were you handing me, Big Bill?
line up (v.)

(UK drugs) to inhale a portion of a narcotic.

[UK]Guardian CiF 19 Mar. [Internet] Every single one of my head chefs used to line up, sometimes on the pass before we switched the lamps on.
on the line (also down the line)

(US Und.) working as a street prostitute or in a brothel.

[US]W. Smith Bessie Cotter 252: A girl that will go down the line for a living would go down the line, regardless. And them that won’t — won’t.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Prostitutes and Criminal Argots’ in Lang. Und. (1981) 116/2: on the line. Working in the red-light district or in a common ‘house’.
pull a line (on) (v.)

to deceive, to get away with a dubious scheme.

[US]W.R. Morse ‘Stanford Expressions’ in AS II:6 277: pull a line, pull a string — talk about unimportant things.
[US]E. Dahlberg Bottom Dogs 232: The matter would have stopped rite then and there, if the sexton-hossdoctor hadn’t pulled a line and got the sheriff to force old man Maxwell to surrender the hoss’s corpse.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 253: I think my man is pullin some lines.
run a line (v.)

1. (UK drugs) to smoke heroin from a sheet of tinfoil, the heated heroin liquefies and runs down the foil, leaving a brown line.

[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw 138: She warmed the bead [i.e. of heroin] from below so that it ran down the foil [...] hungrily sucking in the resultant fumes. This is known as ‘running a line’ or ‘chasing the dragon.’.

2. see shoot a line

run down some lines (v.) [run down v. (3)] (US black)

1. to make conversation.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 252: run down some lines 1. Engage in conversation.
[US]T. Willocks Green River Rising 132: Listening to Stokely Johnson running down some heavy lines on the current hot topic.

2. to attempt seduction by smooth talking.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 252: run down some lines […] 2. Talk smoothly and seductively to a member of the opposite sex with the intention of getting over.
sell a line (v.)

to promote a persuasive patter.

[US]T. Dreiser Sister Carrie 148: ‘How did you come out with that La Crosse man you were telling me about?’ ‘Oh, fine; sold him a complete line.’.
shoot a line (v.) (also run a line) [shoot v. (5)]

1. to concoct a smooth patter, esp. with the specific aim of seduction.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 20: I shot a good line of talk into ’em.
[UK]S. Jackson Indiscreet Guide to Soho 55: Everyone is shooting a line and nobody is deceived.
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 360: All you got to do is shoot ’em a little line.
[Aus]Cusack & James Come in Spinner (1960) 266: If he knew Jerry he was shooting a line, the bastard, and no doubt like the rest of her sex she was falling for it.
[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 63: The Man had shot me the line fast.
[UK]J. Osborne Epitaph for George Dillon Act II: The one thing I never shoot lines about is the RAF.
[UK]N. Cohn Awopbop. (1970) 153: When he was batting off nothing at all, he still shot fat lines.
[US](con. 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 68: For once he did not run a line of shit the way he always did for the benefit of any woman.
[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 254: I cleared my throat and shot him a line.
[UK] (ref. 1940s) B. Morrison Things My Mother Never Told Me 87: Braggarts shoot a line.

2. to send a letter.

[US]C. Buzzell My War (2006) 12: Shoot me a line when you get a chance.
string (out) a line (v.) [string (along) v. (1a)]

(Aus.) to deceive, to tell a ‘tall story’.

[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 764: He could see himself stringing out a line like this guy’s.
[Aus]K. Tennant Joyful Condemned 38: Mort had a feeling Hector was stringing him a line.
take it in the line (v.)

to inject into a vein.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 109/2: To take it in the line. To take narcotics intravenously.