Meaning of redline in English:


Pronunciation /ˈrɛdlʌɪn/


[with object] informal North American
  • 1Drive with (a car engine) at or above its rated maximum revolutions per minute.

    • ‘both his engines were redlined now’
    • ‘Bored by the long drive, Willy and Grecs decided to pass the time by redlining an already heated engine with high speed in low gear.’
    • ‘Due to the very long stroke and alloy conrods, the motor is redlined at 7,000 and will definitely explode if persistently over-revved.’
    • ‘I redlined my A4's four-banger as we came up on the depot.’
  • 2Refuse (a loan or insurance) to someone because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk.

    • ‘banks have redlined loans to buyers’
    • ‘War on Poverty planners had argued that poverty persisted in distressed areas partly because banks and other businesses redlined them, starving them of the investment they needed to revive by refusing to do business there.’
    • ‘When black families found a way to buy homes in white neighborhoods, such as Riverside Terrace along Houston's Brays Bayou, the FHA would redline the area as high-risk.’
    • ‘Private banks, and the Federal Housing and Veterans administrations, favored homeowner loans to single-family dwellings in the ‘new homogeneous’ neighborhoods sprouting to the west, and redlined older areas of the city.’
    • ‘The white people have fled the urban center and the tax districts have been structured so that the affluent areas benefit themselves and the struggling areas get kind of redlined.’
    1. 2.1Cancel (a project)
      • ‘this is not the time for the district to redline capital projects’
      call off, abandon, scrap, drop


informal North American
  • 1The maximum number of revolutions per minute for a car engine.

    • ‘just over halfway to its 5200 rpm redline’
    • ‘The ‘manual’ shifts are quick, and top marks to Honda for not incorporating automatic upshifts when the 7000 rpm redline is reached.’
    • ‘Acceleration is perfectly adequate up to about 80 mph, but the engine screams at redline when it's time to merge into highway traffic.’
    • ‘The second hint is the prodigious torque output and low engine redline.’
    • ‘The instrumentation has been massively improved and includes an arced rev counter with the redlines at 9,000.’
    • ‘Thanks in part to the advent of electronic controls, engineers are trimming losses, perfecting combustion, boosting volumetric efficiency and raising redlines.’
    • ‘At that point, the turbocharger begins to take over and carries on to the redline.’
    • ‘As the light turned green, I punched the throttle, and shifted quickly, dumping the clutch at the Audi's seven thousand RPM redline.’
    • ‘That is seriously fast, and on one daring high speed run, it proved to be stable too, as long as you get it out of fourth gear well before hitting redline.’
    • ‘For a car that lives life on the redline, you might expect more dramatic looks.’
    • ‘It settles to a hum at idle, but then just zings straight up to the redline with turbine-like smoothness.’
  • 2A boundary or limit which should not be crossed.

    • ‘It's a clear indication that Labour's European stance, with all its talk on redlines and so on, has little credibility with the British people.’


From the use of red as a limit marker, in redline (sense 2 of the verb) a limit marked out by ringing a section of a map.