AskDefine | Define clothesline

Dictionary Definition

clothesline n : a cord on which clothes are hung to dry

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings

  • clothes line (UK)


  • (UK): klōthz'līn, /ˈkləʊðzlaɪn/, /"kl@UDzlaIn/
  • (US): klōthz'līn, /ˈkloʊðzlaɪn/, /"kloUDzlaIn/


  1. A rope or cord tied up outdoors to hang clothes on so they can dry
    Hang this towel out on the clothesline for me.



  1. To knock (a person) over by striking his or her upper body or neck with one's arm, as if he or she had run into a low clothesline.
    The ref called a personal foul, when he clotheslined the running back.


Extensive Definition

A clothes line or washing line is any type of rope, cord, or twine that has been stretched between two points(i.e two sticks), generally outside, above the level of the ground. Clothing that has recently been washed is hung along the line to dry, using clothes pegs or clothespins. Washing lines are attached either from a post or a wall, and are frequently located in back gardens, or on balconies. Longer washing lines often have poles holding up sections in the middle due to the weight of the clothing. Washing lines may fall down due to the weather or being run into, which often makes the clothes hung on it dirty again. This is often the case if the line is hung too low.
In some places, however, zoning regulations may prohibit their use as clothes lines are sometimes associated with poverty or considered unaesthetic. This is particularly true in California, USA. But in Scotland, many tenement buildings have a drying green — a communal area which, while it may be used as a recreational space, is predominantly a place with many clothes lines. In Australia, one may see examples of the Hills Hoist, a type of rotary clothes line built in that country, although other countries have their own design of rotary dryer.
The use of the clothes line is dependent upon fair weather and as the powered clothes dryer has become more affordable and included in home automation, especially in North America and Europe, external drying has declined in popularity. However, due to various concerns, pro-environment groups welcome the use of the clothes line.
More elaborate rotary washing lines save space and are typically retractable and square or triangular in shape, with multiple lines being used. These can be folded up when not in use, although there is a hazard of getting fingers caught in the folded up version, so there is usually a safety button involved.

Environmentally friendly

It is not to be overlooked that compared to the tumble drier, the clothes line or rotary drier uses no energy, and thus gives an environmental benefit. Many people prefer the smell of traditionally dried clothing to tumble-dried.


See also

clothesline in German: Wäscheleine
clothesline in Modern Greek (1453-): Σχοινί απλώματος ρούχων
clothesline in Spanish: Tendedero
clothesline in Hebrew: מתלה כביסה
clothesline in Dutch: Waslijn
clothesline in Dutch Low Saxon: Tuugliende
clothesline in Cree: ᒋᔥᑖᐹᐅᒋᑲᓂᔮᐲ
clothesline in Japanese: クローズライン
clothesline in Finnish: Pyykkinaru
clothesline in Swedish: Klädstreck
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