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    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 301
    #1

    Lay it on the line?

    Hello,

    This is part of a song lyrics, I don't get the meaning of the part in bold. I need your help please!

    One may think
    we’re doing fine
    But if I had to lay it on the line
    We’re losing ground
    with every passing day
    We’re not ok

    Many thanks,

  1. IvanV's Avatar

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 576
    #2

    Re: Lay it on the line?

    To lay on the line usually means to make effort to succeed, but with a great chance of experiencing a loss or damage. To take a risk, to put something at risk.

    It also means to make something clear - by saying it clearly, firmly, frankly.
    For instance: Okay, I have to lay it on the line: either start cleaning up after yourself, or get used to living alone!

    Here, it's closer to ''but if I have to admit it...''.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 301
    #3

    Re: Lay it on the line?

    Thank you IvanV, Can I ask how common and formal it is? And is it AmE or BrE?

    Thanks

  2. IvanV's Avatar

    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 576
    #4

    Re: Lay it on the line?

    It's pretty much informal, the way I hear it. I can't really say how common it is, but I can say that it is in use, especially in the sense of the first elaboration I gave.
    As for the question of this idiom being characteristical for either AmE or BrE, I, again, can't say and be completely positive. I don't think it's an issue, though.

    Cheers!

  3. Philly's Avatar

    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 620
    #5

    Re: Lay it on the line?

    Hi atlaisha

    The expression is quite normal and used as Ivan described on the American side of the pond, too.

  4. RonBee's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2003
    • Posts: 16,551
    #6

    Re: Lay it on the line?

    "Lay it on the line" is well known in AE.


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