toe the line/mark, to

toe the line

To adhere to the rules of something. (Often misspelled as "tow the line.") From now on, I plan to toe the line and do exactly what Gram tells me, to avoid getting in any more trouble. I expect you to toe the line at all times if you want to remain at this firm, Jonathan.
See also: line, toe

toe the mark

To adhere or conform to the rules of something. From now on, I plan to toe the mark and do exactly what Graham tells me, to avoid getting in any more trouble. I expect you to toe the mark at all times if you want to remain at this firm, Jonathan.
See also: mark, toe
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

toe the mark

 and toe the line
Fig. to do what one is expected to do; to follow the rules. You'll get ahead, Sally. Don't worry. Just toe the mark, and everything will be okay. John finally got fired. He just couldn't learn to toe the line.
See also: mark, toe
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

toe the line

Also, toe the mark. Meet a standard, abide by the rules, as in The new director will make us toe the line, I'm sure, or At daycare Brian has to toe the mark, but at home his mother's quite lenient. This idiom refers to runners in a race placing their toes on the starting line and not moving until the starting signal. Its figurative use dates from the early 1800s.
See also: line, toe
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

toe the line

COMMON If you toe the line, you behave in the way that people in authority have told you to behave. The new legislation could force them out of business if they don't toe the line. Journalists who refuse to toe the line will have to be sacked. Note: You often use a word before line to indicate who the people in authority are. He was sacked for not toeing the Party line. Note: At the start of a race, runners stand in a row with their toe just behind the starting line.
See also: line, toe
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

toe the line

accept the authority, principles, or policies of a particular group, especially under pressure.
Competitors in a race toe the line by placing their toes on the starting line.
1998 Times An insider suggests…that the said minister is…on the skids. The minister smarts, and toes the line.
See also: line, toe
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

toe the ˈline

(American English also toe the ˈmark) obey the orders and accept the ideas, aims and principles of a particular group or person: The Prime Minister is angry because some members of the government are not toeing the line. OPPOSITE: overstep the mark/line
See also: line, toe
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

toe the line/mark, to

To meet a particular standard; to conform strictly to a rule. The term comes from track, when the runners in a race line up with their toes placed on the starting line or mark. It began to be used figuratively in the early nineteenth century. The OED cites “He began to think it was high time to toe the mark,” from The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan (1813) by “H. Bull-Us.”
See also: line, to, toe
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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