Drop a Line – Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Ever question the idiom drop a line? Well, today, we’re going fishing… No, not really, but we are diving deep into the meaning of this idiomatic expression. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not about aquatic pursuits or clumsy handling of geometry tools. Let’s get to it!

Drop a Line Meaning and Definition

Drop a Line – Meaning Origin

When someone asks you to drop a line, don’t go searching for your fishing gear or start scribbling lines on paper. What they’re asking is for you to send them a message or letter or simply get in touch, usually at your convenience. Nowadays, that could even mean shooting them a quick email or text message to catch up or hang out.

Growing up a 90s baby, I was a teenager during the birth of cell phones — well, the popularity of them among teens, anyway. Whenever a friend wanted me to message them, they’d say, “Drop me a line!”

But I also remember people using this expression with beepers. For you young people out there, those were tiny little devices we kept attached to our belt buckles that could receive numbers or short messages (lines) from landline phones.

Drop a Line Origin and Etymology

Drop a Line Ngram
Drop a line usage trend.

The idiom drop a line originates from the 18th-century practice of dropping a line of inquiry or news in the form of a letter. Imagine literally dropping a written line into the mailbox — a pretty literal visual, right?

Synonyms for Drop Someone a Line

Of course, you don’t have to use this phrase when there are so many other alternatives to choose from!

  • Get in touch
  • Send a note
  • Write a letter
  • Give a shout
  • Shoot a message

Drop a Line Examples in a Sentence

Drop a Line – Meaning Origin 1

Time to master the art of dropping a line with these complete sentence examples:

  • Once you reach the city, be sure to drop me a line!
  • I’ve been meaning to drop a line to my old college roommate.
  • You should drop a line to your teacher thanking her for the recommendation letter.
  • Even though they live on opposite sides of the world, they make sure to drop a line to each other every now and then.
  • If you ever need any help, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
  • After the job interview, I decided to drop a line to the manager, expressing my continued interest.
  • I’ll drop a line to our neighbors inviting them to the barbecue.
  • He promised to drop a line as soon as he settled into his new apartment.
  • She’s bad at dropping a line, always taking ages to respond to messages.
  • I dropped a line to customer service about the issue I was facing with the software.

The Last Line

So, the next time someone asks you to drop a line, you’ll know exactly what they’re asking for! No fishing rods or sketchpads are required. Using idioms correctly can truly elevate your conversational skills and written correspondence. So continue fishing for these wonderful expressions, and watch your language prowess grow with more of my quick guides to common phrases!