on the line phr.
1. honest, straightforward, in the open.
|Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 3 May 2/1: As an ‘on the line’ man said to me—‘Mima, dea— I mean, Miss Sloper’.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 13 Sept. 35/2: Oh, I suppose they’d have to be a woman – if only to keep the doctor on the line.|
|Runyon à la Carte 88: You will tell her to get it on the line at once and save herself trouble.|
|Go, Man, Go! 105: Pa wanted it on the line. He was keeping Paul awake to have it out.|
|Down and Out 131: If what you’re saying is really on the line and straight, then there’s no reason why they can’t review your case.|
2. of money, either put at stake or, e.g. in the case of a drug deal, advanced as a loan.
|Sporting Times 9 June 1/5: I’m the P.C. with landscapes on the line, I am. You surely don’t expect a R’yal Academician to ruin his hands by mixin’ up in street scraps, do ye?|
|It’s a Racket! 233: on the line—Immediately; ready and waiting; e.g. ‘He put down $150 on the line.’ NOTE—A term borrowed from aviation and used on landing fields to indicate a plane that is ready to take off.|
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 174: He [...] will lay twenty-five G’s on the line.‘Gentlemen, the King!’ in|
|Pat Hobby Stories (1967) 37: I hate to give an idea without money on the line.‘A Man in the Way’ in|
|Corner Boy 44: Wasn’t many guys Monk would let have junk without cash on the line.|
|Brown’s Requiem 12: I [...] told him to meet me at my place in an hour and to bring coffee—there was work on the line.|
|Rivethead (1992) 152: The problem was Eddie simply got the yips whenever money was on the line.|
3. (US) prepared, in the offing.
|Burn, Killer, Burn! 48: Everytime I get a lay on the line, something messes it up.|
4. under interrogation.
|You Flash Bastard 124: Even an important QC, a judge almost, cringed when on the line.|
5. (Aus.) under police observation.
6. (US prison) for sale.
|Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July [Internet] On the Line: For sale (L.A. County Jail).|
(US) to put oneself into a position of responsibility, to take risks; to face punishment.
|Secrets of Harry Bright (1986) 269: Maybe Harry put his ass on the line once or twice for Coy.|
|Is That It? 135: Jesus, if they found out, my balls would be on the line.|
|Dead Long Enough 9: If a TV Exec is going to put himself and his balls on the line for anything, it will be for something that combines proven ratings and alleged heavyweight learning.|
|Keepers of Truth 140: I’m putting my ass on the line for you, Bill. Don’t let me down.|
|Indep. 16 May 30/6: Whose arse is it on the line if the whole thing goes tits up?|
to place someone in a difficult or challenging position.
|in Living Dangerously 183: Luke put me on the line within two hours of my arrival.|
|Life 321: The idea of putting the whole tour on the line because I couldn’t make it was too much, even for me.|