draw a line at (doing) (something)(redirected from to draw a line at)
draw a line at (doing) (something)
To set a (figurative) boundary, indicating what one is not willing or able to do. I'm willing to accept some minor edits on my script, but I draw a line at any major rewrites. Aunt Peggy was fine with us setting her up on a date, but she drew a line at letting us create an online dating profile.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
draw the line at, to
To set a specific limit, particularly on one’s behavior. This expression, heard in such contexts as “He drew the line at outright cheating,” comes from drawing some sort of boundary, but no one is quite certain as to what kind. Some speculate it comes from the early game of court tennis, in which the court had no specific dimensions and the players had to draw their own lines. Others believe it signified a line cut by a plow across a field to designate the property boundary. The term was used figuratively from the late eighteenth century on and was probably a cliché by the time W. S. Gilbert wrote, “I attach but little value to rank or wealth, but the line must be drawn somewhere” (H.M.S. Pinafore, Act I).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer