draw the line


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draw the line

1. To establish a figurative boundary that someone or some group refuses to cross or beyond which no further advance or compromise is accepted. I don't mind my roommate being a bit messy, but leaving dirty dishes for me to clean up is where I draw the line!
2. To clearly separate or create boundaries for two things. If you're going to work closely with your wife, you really need to draw the line between your professional life and your personal life.
See also: draw, line

draw the line (at something)

to set a limit at something; to decide when a limit has been reached. You can make as much noise as you want, but I draw the line at fighting. It's hard to keep young people under control, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
See also: draw, line

draw the line

COMMON
1. If someone knows where to draw the line, they know at what point an activity or situation stops being reasonable and starts to be unacceptable. It is difficult for charities to know where to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable sources of finance. Where do you draw the line about who the press can and can't investigate?
2. If you draw the line at a particular activity, you would not do it, because you disapprove of it or because it is so extreme. I'll do almost anything — although I think I'd draw the line at running naked across the stage! I have to draw the line somewhere. I refuse to go in for spiritualism. Note: There are several theories about the origin of this expression. It may come from early versions of tennis, in which the court had no fixed size: players agreed their own limits and drew lines accordingly. Alternatively, it may be connected with the 16th century practice of using a plough to cut a line across a field to indicate a boundary between two plots of land. A third possibility is that it refers to boxing matches in the past, when a line was drawn in the ring which neither boxer could cross. `Cross the line' may be based on a similar idea.
See also: draw, line

draw the ˈline (at something)

refuse to do or accept something: I don’t mind cooking dinner for you occasionally, but I draw the line at ironing your shirts!He refused to tolerate her lies any longer. The line had to be drawn somewhere.
See also: draw, line

draw the line

1. To decide firmly an arbitrary boundary between two things: "Where do you draw the line between your own decisions and those of your superiors?" (Robert Marion).
2. To decide firmly the limit of what one will tolerate or participate in: The officer committed fraud but drew the line at blackmail.
See also: draw, line
References in periodicals archive ?
When do we draw the line and say, "If you can't support us, you need to know how much that hurts.
Angry teen: "Abuse of power, where do you draw the line?"
As MBTA spokesman Brian Pedro told National Public Radio, "You have to draw the line somewhere."
Sir John knows where to draw the line on law and order - but the Home Office doesn't.
Knowing how to draw the line will leave you feeling nothing short of empowered (see "Just Say No," Motivation, this issue).
Ann's, asserts, "Latin is set aside for a particular purpose and doesn't necessarily bring with it secular connotations." This issue involves how dark we draw the line between the sacred and profane.
Rules for the actual use of that technology "are going to be determined by the regulatory bodies and by the Congress, as they decide where they want to draw the line," Quigg added.
However, it seems they draw the line at Grouse, at least on the Scottish rugby team's jerseys.
For many, this process will bring with it the same age old conundrum: where do you draw the line between roof repair and replacement?