out of line meaning

Out of line: meaning and usage

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The expression “out of line” can be used in its literal meaning when someone or something is not in line.

For instance, one of those books on the shelf is out of line with the others.

Out of line: meaning and usage

As an idiom “out of line” has two main meanings: inappropriate or different from what is expected.

Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as something that “is not right or appropriate.”

In most cases this expression has negative connotation. So if someone is out of line most people disapprove of such behavior.

For instance:
You can disagree with her, but calling her dishonest was out of line.

Bill, that remark was out of line. Please be more respectful.

We can say the same about limits and expectations.

The prices during the festival were out of line!

There’s a set construction to use when we want to say that things or figures are different from something that we expected or planned:

be out of line with something

Let’s look at examples:

That price seems way out of line with other repairmen I’ve dealt with.

The cost of this meal is out of line with what other restaurants charge.

This set of figures was sharply out of line with the trend.

What is another word for out of line?

We also can say “way out of line” or “step out of line.”

These prices were way out of line.

Being out of line is also being a bad-mannered, ill-mannered, arrogant, impolite, or rude person.

Practice section

I collected 6 examples of usage “out of line” from newspapers, people’s speeches and conversations (thanks to Google and Youglish) and put them into a quiz. Your task is to tell what’s the meaning of “out of line” in each sentence.

Take the quiz and share your results in the comments.

Quiz: out of line

Out of line: meaning and usage

Good luck!

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Additional resources: 

out of line | FreeDictionary

out of line | Merriam Webster dictionary

be out of line with sth | Cambridge Dictionary 

Out of line | Youglish

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4 thoughts on “Out of line: meaning and usage

  1. Thanks a lot Vika for your vocabulary tips. They are very helpful. I got 6 out of 6.

    1. Thank you, Tatyana. I really appreciate such a comment from such a strict English teacher as you are.

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