What does the idiom "drop sb a line" mean?

The phrase drop sb a line is often used in English, but what does this idiom mean? When idioms are used in the right situations, they strengthen communication and enrich the language. You can communicate more effectively by learning the meaning of drop sb a line.

Meaning of "drop sb a line"


The idiom ‘drop someone a line’ is commonly used to express the idea of sending someone a message, whether written or electronic. It is a fairly casual phrase, most often used in reference to sending someone a quick note or message to update them or say hello.


The origin of the phrase ‘drop someone a line’ is uncertain, though it is believed to have been first used in the nineteenth century. It may have been derived from the earlier phrase ‘drop a line’, which first appeared in the early 1700s and meant to send someone a brief note or message.


The phrase ‘drop someone a line’ is typically used in informal situations when a person is referring to sending a message to someone. It’s not necessarily a term people use when sending an important or longer message, but rather when they are sending a short one. It may be used when someone is saying hello to an acquaintance they haven’t spoken to in a while, or when they want to give an update on their current situation.

Example Sentences

  • “Hey, it’s been a while since we talked. I should drop you a line and catch up.”
  • “I’m about to head out for a week, but I’ll drop you a line when I get back.”
  • “I was thinking of you the other day, so I decided to drop you a line. How are you doing?”

The meanings of the words in the "drop sb a line" idiom

The Surprising Origins of Everyday English Idioms

Many English idioms have surprisingly dark origins, often rooted in violence, death, and superstition. For instance, the phrase "raining cats and dogs" is said to have originated in the 17th century, when heavy rain would often cause dead animals to wash up on the streets. Meanwhile, the idiom "rule of thumb" is believed to have originated from a law that allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than their thumb.


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