a thin line

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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.
At Hastor we found all in readiness, and so perfectly had Kantos Kan planned every detail of the campaign that within ten minutes of our arrival the first of the fleet had soared aloft from its dock, and thereafter, at the rate of one a second, the great ships floated gracefully out into the night to form a long, thin line which stretched for miles toward the south.
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.
He saw in the dim vista no khaki-clad army with flashing bayonets, but a long, thin line of black-coated men with sallow faces, clutching their money-bags.
She pointed with her finger to where the waves were breaking in a thin line of white, about fifty yards from the beach.
When, however, I saw the vile hand of Salensus Oll reach out for the hand of my beloved princess I could restrain myself no longer, and before the nobles of Okar knew that aught had happened I had leaped through their thin line and was upon the dais beside Dejah Thoris and Salensus Oll.
Adopting the tactics of the desert fighters from which he had sprung, Achmet Zek led his followers at a gallop in a long, thin line, describing a great circle which drew closer and closer in toward the defenders.
Waziri remained with the main body, which advanced in a thin line that spread in a great crescent through the forest.
A thin line of skirmishers, the men deployed at six paces or so apart, now pushes from the wood into the open.
Along the very edge of the cliff-top stood a thin line of mighty males--the best rope-throwers of the tribe.
At last everything was ready, and we were about to set out when our pickets, a long, thin line of which had surrounded our camp at all times, reported that a great body of what appeared to be Sagoths and Mahars were approaching from the direction of Phutra.
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.
Looking towards the setting sun, there lay, stretched out before my view, a vast expanse of level ground; unbroken, save by one thin line of trees, which scarcely amounted to a scratch upon the great blank; until it met the glowing sky, wherein it seemed to dip: mingling with its rich colours, and mellowing in its distant blue.
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.