A chat line is a type of phone number where callers connect to one or more other callers either randomly or by a selection process. Chat lines may be friendly, romantic, erotic or helpful in nature and generally require a fee to connect.
Chat lines originated in the era before Internet chat rooms as a way for strangers from different locales to meet and interact with each other. During the 1980s and into the 90s, chat lines developed a negative reputation among some due to the amount of adult-oriented chat lines that advertised on late-night television. Those who do not have access to the Internet or smart devices use chat lines as a means of meeting others who share interests.