(be) out of line


1. behave in an inappropriate or unacceptable manner






Check Icon How to Memorize

you should apologize. You were totally out of line.

Check Icon Analysis

In a literal sense, to 'be out of line' means to not be correctly positioned in a row of other people or things. This phrase takes that meaning and uses it to figuratively express doing or saying something that goes against a direct order, that causes offence, or that is not considered acceptable in a particular situation. It is common in both a social and professional context, though in the UK you may hear the variation 'be out of order' instead.

Check Icon Social Examples (Basic)

  1. You really should apologize for what you said. You were way out of line!
  2. He was really out of line to speak about your husband like that. I'll have a word with him.
  3. Your behaviour last night was way out of line. I demand an apology.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. I thought Justin stepped out of line in the meeting, and I had no hesitation calling him out over it.
  2. Don't give me any excuses! You were completely out of line talking to a customer like that!

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