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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
Moore, I could manage better; and when my father read "Lalla Rookh" to my mother I sat up to listen, and entered into all the woes of Iran in the story of the "Fire Worshippers." I drew the line at the "Veiled Prophet of Khorassan," though I had some sense of the humor of the poet's conception of the critic in "Fadladeen." But I liked Scott's poems far better, and got from Ispahan to Edinburgh with a glad alacrity of fancy.
My father had a gosh-wollickin' temper and never drew the line at heads when he went after tar.--Don't jerk your elbows back that way!
|A British lawyer, who had never visited India, drew the line, now known as the Radcliffe Line, that divided the two countries, using old maps and with no knowledge of the land or its people.
but he drew the line at delving into the life of his mother's grandfather.
Once I drew the line between what I was (my ancestry, which I cannot control) and who I was (the heritage I choose to embrace), whatever I uncovered in my genealogical journey had little impact on my racial identity.
Still, BC drew the line at actually rewriting its policy on non-discrimination, notes Jack Dunn, BC's public information director.
Mahy prefaces the book with the disclaimer: "Viruses which only infect bacteria, fungi, invertebrates or plants are outside the scope of this Dictionary." Perhaps the publisher drew the line at 422 pages, or perhaps this book should have been named "Dictionary of (for the most part) Animal Viruses".
"But the majority drew the line at special interest legislation that gave Lenox Hill a significant financial benefit at the expense of the property owner, and at the expense of the people who really live in the apartments, Lenox Hill's nurses."