toe the line

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toe the line

To adhere to the rules of something. 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 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

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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Rules were rules, and even when we didn't like them, we toed the line.
I told him that, unless he met me halfway and financially supported the children and toed the line, he would have no more contact with them.
It may have been due to the presence of our photographer and it may have been for one day only but when the Echo's Protect Our Kids turned up parents and grandparents toed the line.
But four schools toed the line after Noel Dempsey's order to break the tradition.
It's awful to know he could still be around if he had toed the line.