Drop someone a line

To drop someone a line is an idiom that may be older than you think. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions that native speakers understand such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, eye to eye, barking up the wrong tree, hit the nail on the head, kick the bucket, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom drop someone a line, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

To drop someone a line means to mail the person a short letter. People sometimes use drop someone a line to mean send an email or text. The expression drop someone a line came into use in the mid-1700s. The word line to mean a short, written message dates back to the mid-1600s. The word drop in the phrase drop someone a line means to drop a message in a postal box to be delivered to the recipient. Related phrases are drops someone a line, dropped someone a line, dropping someone a line.


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Before he even starred in Get Out, in the course of one week last year both Ryan Coogler got in touch, to cast him in Black Panther, and Steve “12 Years A Slave” McQueen dropped him a line, for a heist movie he was putting together called Widows, which is out in November. (GQ Magazine)

Not to be outdone the shopper responded: “I tried dropping you a line, but this whole situation is giving me a haddock.” (The Guardian)

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