toe the line(redirected from toes the line)
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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.
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.
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.
toe the lineaccept 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.
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
1. To adhere to doctrines or rules conscientiously; conform.
2. Sports & Games To touch a mark or line with the toe or hands in readiness for the start of a race or competition.
See also: toe
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.”