lay on the line


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lay (something) on the line

1. To put something at risk in the pursuit of something else. We're putting hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line with this property development, so you had better get it done on time! Our soldiers put their lives on the line every day to defend your freedom, so the least you can do is show them a bit of respect.
2. To speak bluntly and directly. (Phrased exclusively as "lay it on the line.") If you lay it on the line, maybe then they'll be able to understand how serious this situation is. Our soldiers put their lives on the line every day to defend your freedom, so the least you can do is show them a bit of respect.
See also: lay, line, on

lay on the line

1. Make ready for payment, as in They laid hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line to develop the new software. [c. 1900]
2. lay it on the line. Speak frankly and firmly, make something clear. For example, The professor laid it on the line: either hand in a term paper or fail the course. [c. 1920]
3. Put something at risk, as in The troops sent overseas were laying their lives on the line. [Mid-1900s]
See also: lay, line, on