Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A man in charge of railroad points or switches.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A man who has charge of railroad points or switches.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A man who has charge of the points or switches on a railway; a switchman.
  • n. In grouse-shooting, a driver stationed on the flank of the line of a drive, to turn the birds toward the guns.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a policeman stationed at an intersection to direct traffic

Etymologies

points +‎ man (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • All manner of cross-lines of rails came zig-zagging into it, like a Congress of iron vipers; and, a little way out of it, a pointsman in an elevated signal-box was constantly going through the motions of drawing immense quantities of beer at a public-house bar.

    The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices

  • The pointsman aloft in the signal-box made the motions of drawing, with some difficulty, hogsheads of beer.

    The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices

  • If ever the Anti-pointsman existed, Roger Mexico is the man.

    Gravity's Rainbow

  • At the entrance of the inspired explanation, the expositor, bent on the defence of his own foregone conclusion, takes his stand, like a pointsman on a railway, and by one jerk turns the whole train into the wrong line.

    The Parables of Our Lord

  • That Johnny had made his mind up -- he'd be a pointsman, too.

    Poems Teachers Ask For, Book Two

  • He hated the oppositional heretics, as one should, believed that history ran on rails according to an infallible plan and an infallible pointsman, No. 1.

    Darkness At Noon

  • The pointsman lay asleep near his sentry box, and the sun was blazing full on his face.

    The Chorus Girl and Other Stories

  • Late in the same night, a pointsman, walking along the railway a little distance out of the town, came upon the body of a woman, train-crushed, horrible to view.

    The Nether World

  • A line of rail lies separated from an adjacent one, the pointsman moves a handle, and the foaming giant, that would, it may be, have sped on to his destruction and that of the passive crew who follow in his rear, is shunted to another line running in a different direction and to a more desirable goal.

    John Stuart Mill; His Life and Works

  • The great intellectual pointsman of our age -- the man who has done more than any other of this generation to give direction to the thought of his contemporaries -- has passed away; and we are left to measure the loss to humanity by the result of his labors.

    John Stuart Mill; His Life and Works Twelve Sketches by Herbert Spencer, Henry Fawcett, Frederic Harrison, and Other Distinguished Authors

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