• Point


    • enPR: point, IPA: /pɔɪ̯nt/
    • Rhymes: -ɔɪnt


    From Middle English point, from Old French point ("a point, dot, full stop, period, speck, hole, stitch, point of time, moment, difficulty, etc."), from Latin punctum ("a point, puncture"), prop. a hole punched in, substantive use of punctus, perfect passive participle of pungō ("I prick, punch"). Displaced native Middle English ord ("point"), from Old English ord ("point").

    Full definition of point



    (plural points)
    1. A discrete division of something.
      1. An individual element in a larger whole; a particular detail, thought, or quality. from 13th c.The Congress debated the finer points of the bill.
      2. A particular moment in an event or occurrence; a juncture. from 13th c.There comes a point in a marathon when some people give up.At this point in the meeting, I'd like to propose a new item for the agenda.
      3. (archaic) Condition, state. from 13th c.She was not feeling in good point.
      4. A topic of discussion or debate; a proposition, a focus of conversation or consideration. from 14th c.I made the point that we all had an interest to protect.
      5. (obsolete) The smallest quantity of something; a jot, a whit. 14th-17th c.
        • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.ii:full large of limbe and euery ioint
          He was, and cared not for God or man a point.
      6. (obsolete) A tiny amount of time; a moment. 14th-17th c.
        • Sir J. DaviesWhen time's first point begun
          Made he all souls.
      7. A specific location or place, seen as a spatial position. from 14th c.We should meet at a pre-arranged point.
      8. (mathematics, science) A zero-dimensional mathematical object representing a location in one or more dimensions; something considered to have position but no magnitude or direction. from 14th c.
      9. A purpose or objective. from 14th c.Since the decision has already been made, I see little point in further discussion.
      10. A full stop or other terminal punctuation mark. from 14th c.
        • Alexander PopeCommas and points they set exactly right.
      11. (music) A dot or mark used to designate certain tones or time. In ancient music, it distinguished or characterized certain tones or styles (points of perfection, of augmentation, etc.). In modern music, it is placed on the right of a note to raise its value, or prolong its time, by one half.
      12. (by extension) A note; a tune.
        • Sir Walter ScottSound the trumpet — not a levant, or a flourish, but a point of war.
      13. A distinguishing quality or characteristic. from 15th c.Logic isn't my strong point.
      14. Something tiny, as a pinprick; a very small mark. from 15th c.The stars showed as tiny points of yellow light.
      15. (now only in phrases) A tenth; formerly also a twelfth. from 17th c.Possession is nine points of the law.
      16. Each of the marks or strokes written above letters, especially in Semitic languages, to indicate vowels, stress etc. from 17th c.
      17. (gaming) A unit of scoring in a game or competition. from 18th c.The one with the most points will win the game
      18. (mathematics) A decimal point (now especially when reading decimal fractions aloud). from 18th c.10.5 ("ten point five"; = ten and a half)
      19. (economics) A unit used to express differences in prices of stocks and shares. from 19th c.
      20. (typography) a unit of measure equal to 1/12 of a pica, or approximately 1/72 of an inch (exactly 1/72 of an inch in the digital era). from 19th c.
      21. (UK) An electric power socket. from 20th c.
      22. (navigation, nautical) A unit of bearing equal to one thirty-second of a circle, i.e. 11.25°.Ship ahoy, three points off the starboard bow!
      23. A sharp extremity.
        1. The sharp tip of an object. from 14th c.Cut the skin with the point of the knife.
        2. Any projecting extremity of an object. from 14th c.
        3. An object which has a sharp or tapering tip. from 14th c.His cowboy belt was studded with points.
        4. (backgammon) Each of the twelve triangular positions in either table of a backgammon board, on which the stones are played. from 15th c.
        5. A peninsula or promontory. from 15th c.
        6. The position at the front or vanguard of an advancing force. from 16th c.
          • 2005, Martin Torgoff, Can't Find My Way Home: America in the Great Stoned Age, 1945–2000, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0-7432-3011-6, page 189:Willie Jones decided to become Kimani Jones, Black Panther, on the day his best friend, Otis Nicholson, stepped on a mine while walking point during a sweep in the central highlands.
        7. Each of the main directions on a compass, usually considered to be 32 in number; a direction. from 16th c.
        8. (nautical) The difference between two points of the compass.to fall off a point
        9. Pointedness of speech or writing; a penetrating or decisive quality of expression. from 17th c.
          • 1897, Henry James, What Maisie Knew:There was moreover a hint of the duchess in the infinite point with which, as she felt, she exclaimed: "And this is what you call coming often?"
          • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, Mr. Pratt's Patients Chapter 4, I told him about everything I could think of; and what I couldn't think of he did. He asked about six questions during my yarn, but every question had a point to it. At the end he bowed and thanked me once more. As a thanker he was main-truck high; I never see anybody so polite.
        10. (railroads, UK, in the plural) A railroad switch. from 19th c.
        11. (usually in the plural) An area of contrasting colour on an animal, especially a dog; a marking. from 19th c.The point color of that cat was a deep, rich sable.
        12. (cricket) A fielding position square of the wicket on the off side, between gully and cover. from 19th c.
        13. A tine or snag of an antler.
        14. (fencing) A movement executed with the sabre or foil.tierce point
        15. (heraldry) One of the several different parts of the escutcheon.
        16. (nautical) A short piece of cordage used in reefing sails.
        17. (historical) A string or lace used to tie together certain garments.
        18. Lace worked by the needle.point de Venise; Brussels point
        19. (US, slang, dated) An item of private information; a hint; a tip; a pointer.
        20. The attitude assumed by a pointer dog when he finds game.The dog came to a point.


    Derived terms

    Terms derived from the noun pointthis * point function"pointlessly" * point man

    Related terms



    1. (intransitive) To extend the index finger in the direction of something in order to show where it is or to draw attention to it.
      • ShakespeareNow must the world point at poor Katharine.
      • DrydenPoint at the tattered coat and ragged shoe.
      • 2011, October 23, Becky Ashton, QPR 1 - 0 Chelsea, Luiz struggled with the movement of Helguson in the box, as he collected a long ball and the Spaniard barged him over, leaving referee Chris Foy little option but to point to the spot.
    2. It's rude to point at other people.
    3. (intransitive) To draw attention to something or indicate a direction.
      • 2013-06-07, Ed Pilkington, ‘Killer robots’ should be banned in advance, UN told, In his submission to the UN, Christof Heyns points to the experience of drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles were intended initially only for surveillance, and their use for offensive purposes was prohibited, yet once strategists realised their perceived advantages as a means of carrying out targeted killings, all objections were swept out of the way.
    4. The arrow of a compass points north
      The skis were pointing uphill.
      The arrow on the map points towards the entrance
    5. (transitive) To direct toward an object; to aim.to point a gun at a wolf, or a cannon at a fort
    6. To give a point to; to sharpen; to cut, forge, grind, or file to an acute end.to point a dart, a pencil, or (figuratively) a moral
    7. (intransitive) to indicate a probability of something
    8. (ambitransitive, masonry) To repair mortar.
    9. (transitive, masonry) To fill up and finish the joints of (a wall), by introducing additional cement or mortar, and bringing it to a smooth surface.
    10. (stone-cutting) To cut, as a surface, with a pointed tool.
    11. (transitive) To direct or encourage (someone) in a particular direction.
      If he asks for food, point him toward the refrigerator.
      • Alexander PopeWhosoever should be guided through his battles by Minerva, and pointed to every scene of them.
    12. (transitive, mathematics) To separate an integer from a decimal with a decimal point.
    13. (transitive) To mark with diacritics.
    14. (dated) To supply with punctuation marks; to punctuate.to point a composition
    15. (transitive, computing) To direct the central processing unit to seek information at a certain location in memory.
    16. (transitive, Internet) To direct requests sent to a domain name to the IP address corresponding to that domain name.
    17. (intransitive, nautical) To sail close to the wind.
      Bear off a little, we're pointing.
    18. (intransitive, hunting) To indicate the presence of game by a fixed and steady look, as certain hunting dogs do.
      • John GayHe treads with caution, and he points with fear.
    19. (medicine, of an abscess) To approximate to the surface; to head.
    20. (obsolete) To appoint.
    21. (dated) To give particular prominence to; to designate in a special manner; to point out.
      • Charles DickensHe points it, however, by no deviation from his straightforward manner of speech.

    Derived terms

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