Etymology
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redline (v.)

also red-line, "mark in red ink," 1820, from red (adj.1) + line (v.). Specific sense of "deny loans to certain neighborhoods based on ethnicity" is from 1973, on notion of lines drawn on maps. Used earlier in reference to insurance company practices (by 1956) and in World War II military slang in reference to a red line drawn through a soldier's name for some infraction, thus denying his pay. Related: Redlined; redlining.

Reports have been increasing here in the last few days to the effect that the American Automobile Association is "red lining" Warren County as a speed trap. [Park City Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky., March 9, 1956]

updated on November 18, 2021

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