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1. Maths
a. any straight one-dimensional geometrical element whose identity is determined by two points. A line segment lies between any two points on a line
b. a set of points (x, y) that satisfies the equation y = mx + c, where m is the gradient and c is the intercept with the y-axis
2. American football
b. the players arranged in a row on either side of the line of scrimmage at the start of each play
a. the edge or contour of a shape, as in sculpture or architecture, or a mark on a painting, drawing, etc., defining or suggesting this
b. the sum or type of such contours or marks, characteristic of a style or design
a. a conducting wire, cable, or circuit for making connections between pieces of electrical apparatus, such as a cable for electric-power transmission, telecommunications, etc.
b. (as modifier): the line voltage
5. a route between two points on a railway
6. Chiefly Brit
a. a railway track, including the roadbed, sleepers, etc.
b. one of the rails of such a track
7. one kind of product or article
8. a unit of verse consisting of the number of feet appropriate to the metre being used and written or printed with the words in a single row
9. Physics a narrow band in an electromagnetic spectrum, resulting from a transition in an atom, ion, or molecule of a gas or plasma
10. Music
a. any of the five horizontal marks that make up the stave
b. the musical part or melody notated on one such set
c. a discernible shape formed by sequences of notes or musical sounds
d. (in polyphonic music) a set of staves that are held together with a bracket or brace
11. a unit of magnetic flux equal to 1 maxwell
12. line ahead or line abreast a formation adopted by a naval unit for manoeuvring
13. the combatant forces of certain armies and navies, excluding supporting arms
14. Fencing one of four divisions of the target on a fencer's body, considered as areas to which specific attacks are made
15. the scent left by a fox
a. the equator (esp in the phrase crossing the line)
b. any circle or arc on the terrestrial or celestial sphere
17. above the line
a. Bridge denoting bonus points, marked above the horizontal line on the score card
18. below the line
a. Bridge denoting points scored towards game and rubber, marked below the horizontal line on the score card



(the Central Polynesian Sporades), an archipelago in the equatorial part of the Pacific Ocean, in Polynesia. It consists of 11 islands and reefs, with a total area of about 600 sq km. Population, about 1,300 (1970). The number of inhabitants rises and falls sharply because of the reliance of the economy on seasonal labor. Some of the islands are uninhabited. Palmyra and Jarvis islands and Kingman Reef belong to the USA, the rest to Great Britain; of the latter, Christmas, Washington, and Fanning islands belong to the British colony of Gilbert and Ellice Islands. All the islands are coral atolls; Christmas Island is the largest atoll in the Pacific Ocean (area, 575 sq km.). The predominant vegetation is coconut groves. Copra and breadfruit are harvested, and there is fishing. There are airports on Palmyra and Christmas islands and an important transoceanic cable station on Fanning Island on the California-Fiji-New Zealand line. The Line Islands were discovered in 1777 by the British navigator J. Cook, and Vostok Island in 1820 by the First Russian Antarctic Expedition. In the first half of the 1950’s nuclear tests were conducted on Christmas and Maiden islands.




a hemp cable up to 25 mm in circumference, made by twisting or weaving individual threads, usually from high-quality vegetable fiber. Lines are used on ships for rigging and tackling operations. Lines have various names—logline, leadline, schiemansgaren (spun twine), or huizing —depending on their function, means of production, and number of threads and strands.



(in genetics), related sexually reproducing organisms that are descended, as a rule, from a single ancestor or a single pair of common ancestors and that reproduce the same genetically stable characters in a number of generations.

Distinctive characters of a line are artificially maintained by means of selection and breeding together of closely related individuals. There are pure lines—the genotypically homogeneous offspring of self-pollinating plants in which almost all the genes are in a homozygous state—and inbred lines—the offspring of cross-pollinating plants obtained by forced self-pollination or a group of animals obtained by breeding together of closely related individuals (inbreeding). The more closely the parents are related, the higher the degree of homozygosis of the offspring. In both pure and inbred lines, constantly arising mutations disrupt homozygosis. Therefore, it is necessary to perform selection to preserve homozygosis of the genes that determine the basic properties of a line. In livestock breeding, a distinction is made between a genealogical line, a group of animals descended from a common ancestor, and a trade line, a homogeneous, qualitatively unique group maintained by selection with the use of inbreeding and consisting of highly productive animals descended from an outstanding forefather and similar to him in constitution and productivity.

Pure and inbred lines serve as the basis for obtaining highly productive hybrids in horticulture and livestock breeding. Lines of laboratory animals that preserve constancy in certain traits play an important role in biomedical research.


Johannsen, W. L. O nasledovanii v populiatsiiakh i chistykh liniiakh. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935. (Translated from German.)
Medvedev, N. N. Prakticheskaia genetika. Moscow, 1966.



A unit of length, equal to ¹⁄₁₂ inch, or approximately 2.117 millimeters; it is most frequently used by botanists in describing the size of plants.
The path covered by the electron beam of a television picture tube in one sweep from left to right across the screen.
One horizontal scanning element in a facsimile system.
(computer science)
The set of points (x1,…, xn ) in euclidean space, each of whose coordinates is a linear function of a single parameter t ; xi i (t). Also known as straight line.


(cell and molecular biology)


1. A system of cables and/or wires (along with poles to support them) used for the general distribution of electricity.
2. A flexible cable, chain, rope, or the like.


1. <hardware> An electrical conductor. For distances larger than a breadbox, a single line may consist of two electrical conductors in twisted, parallel, or concentric arrangement used to transport one logical signal.

By extension, a (usually physical) medium such as an optical fibre which carries a signal.


(1) In text-based systems, a row of characters.

(2) In graphics-based systems, a row of pixels.

(3) See LINE messaging system.

(4) A communications channel. See line card and port.

The First Lines
This photo, taken at Broadway and Cortlandt Streets in New York in 1883, shows a nation exploding with its first communications. The very same thing is happening today with the Internet, only the infrastructure is not visible. (Image courtesy of AT&T.)