walk the line

to follow the rules


walk the line = die Regeln befolgen; sich gut oder anständig benehmen



"I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when each day is through
Yes, I'll admit that I'm a fool for you
Because you're mine, I WALK THE LINE."

Johnny Cash — "I Walk The Line" (Song)

"How to WALK THE LINE of Professional Behaviour. Once friendships are established in an office setting, it can be far too easy for all parties to lose sight of appropriate professional behaviour."

M.T.D. Training

Did you

walk the line
idiomatic phrase (chiefly U.S.)

- to behave in an authorized or socially accepted manner, especially as prescribed by law or morality

- to maintain an intermediate position between contrasting choices, opinions, etc.

- to mark or secure a boundary by walking along it

- to participate in the procession at a graduation ceremony; to graduate



The term refers to convict exercise yards from the 1700's to the 1920's).

Prisoners had to walk around in a wide circle on a yellow (sometimes white) line painted on the ground for as long as exercise time permitted. If any prisoner went too far astray from the line he was punished.


- cross the line = to go too far or break a rule

- crossed lines = a state of miscommunication

- end of the line = the final stage or point of something

- fall in line = to conform or obey

- feed someone a line = to deceive someone with a lie
- lay it on the line = to speak directly and openly

- on the line = to be at risk

- out of line = inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour
- the thin blue line = the British police force


abide/proceed by the book, adhere to guidelines (to the rules), be a stickler, be circumspect (compliant, in compliance, orthodox, scrupulous, straight as an arrow), comply with norms, conform to standards, dance to the tune, do as you're told, do right, dot the i's and cross the t's, enact due diligence, fall in line, follow convention (established procedures, protocol, the book, the code, directions, the law), go by the book (by the rules), heed the rules, hold to the path, keep in line, keep one's nose clean, keep the faith (to the straight and narrow, within bounds, within one's limits), maintain decorum, march in step (to the beat of the same drum), mind one's p's and q's (the rules), not rock the boat, obey the law (the rules), observe decorum (the law, the rules), operate/play by the book, play fair (it safe, it straight, the game), respect the rules, rule-abiding (-following), run a tight ship, stay between the lines (in bounds, in one's lane, on the right side of the law, on track), stick to the path (to the rules), strictly by the book, swim with the tide, toe the line (the mark), tread the path (the straight and narrow), uphold the law, walk a straight path (in step, in lockstep), WALK THE LINE (the straight and narrow), watch one's step (your p's and q's), within the bounds of law (the framework, the guidelines, the limits, the rules), work by the book

SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation, ask something like:

"There are times to rattle the cage and to be creative, and times TO WALK THE LINE — what's our best way forward at the moment?"

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