"On the line" nghĩa là gì?

There can be only one*. Photo courtesy Ian Sane.

'On the line' có từ line là hàng, tuyến; vì thế cụm từ này có nghĩa là mập mờ ở giữa, hay nghĩa khác là gặp rủi ro nghiêm trọng, có nguy cơ thất bại (at risk, in danger, in jeopardy, endangered, imperiled).

Ví dụ
A firefighter's life is on the line every day.

Amtrak funding on the line in final days of Illinois budget battle.

Colorado Rockies' win streak on the line as they face off against Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Back in the Oval Office, I started calling Republican House members to lock in votes. “We really need this package,” I told one congressman after the next. They all had reasons why they couldn’t vote for it. The price tag was too high. Their constituents opposed it. “I just can’t bail out Wall Street,” one told me. “I’m not going to be part of the destruction of the free market.” “Do you think I like the idea of doing this?” I shot back. “Believe me, I’d be fine if these companies fail. But the whole economy is on the line. The son of a bitch is going to go down if we don’t step in.”

Phạm Hạnh

* The catch-phrase from the film “Highlander”.
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