a thin line

a thin line

A very narrow division between two alternatives, one of which is much worse than the other. As a new parent, you learn that there's a thin line between looking out for your child's welfare and being overprotective.
See also: line, thin
References in classic literature ?
The females and young squatted in a thin line at the outer periphery of the circle, while just in front of them ranged the adult males.
He closed his eyes, and immediately a sound of cannonading, of musketry and the rattling of carriage wheels seemed to fill his ears, and now again drawn out in a thin line the musketeers were descending the hill, the French were firing, and he felt his heart palpitating as he rode forward beside Schmidt with the bullets merrily whistling all around, and he experienced tenfold the joy of living, as he had not done since childhood.
She pointed with her finger to where the waves were breaking in a thin line of white, about fifty yards from the beach.
Waziri remained with the main body, which advanced in a thin line that spread in a great crescent through the forest.
Along the very edge of the cliff-top stood a thin line of mighty males--the best rope-throwers of the tribe.
Perhaps you feel equal to discussing the efficacy of spiritual self-chastisement with a person who closes her lips into a thin line and looks at you out of blank, uncomprehending eyes
Morison selected a cigarette from his crested case, lighted it, blew a thin line of blue smoke toward the moon, and smiled.
When the rising sun shone through the narrow window it found Joan de Tany at peace with all about her; the carved golden hilt of the toy that had hung at her girdle protruded from her breast, and a thin line of crimson ran across the snowy skin to a little pool upon the sheet beneath her.
There were about twenty warriors moving forward in a thin line, as our infantry advance as skirmishers.
Loading their guns as they came the blacks ran to succor their fellow, and at Usanga's command they spread into a thin line that presently entirely surrounded the tree into which their comrade had vanished.
As I gave a last hurried glance around, I saw a thin line of yellow light between two of the boards, which broadened and broadened as a small panel was pushed backward.