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Shooting a line

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on March 30, 2010 at 15:52

In Reply to: Shooting a line posted by Dani Miles on March 30, 2010 at 13:15:

: What is the origin of "shooting a line" i.e. telling an untruth or exagerating a truth perhaps. OED suggets first recorded in 1941. My hunch is that it comes from harpooning a whale or casting in fishing. Any suggestions please.

The OED reckons that "line" here has the sense 'marked tendency, a policy or trend (in any activity). In slang: a glib or superficially attractive mode of address or behaviour, plausible talk. So "to do a line with" (Austral. and NZ.), to (try to) enter into an amorous relationship with', and that "shoot" has the same sense that it does in "shoot one's mouth off". (VSD)