from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sharp or tapered end: the point of a knife; the point of the antenna.
  • n. An object having a sharp or tapered end: a stone projectile point.
  • n. A tapering extension of land projecting into water; a peninsula, cape, or promontory.
  • n. A mark formed by or as if by a sharp end.
  • n. A mark or dot used in printing or writing for punctuation, especially a period.
  • n. A decimal point.
  • n. Linguistics A vowel point.
  • n. One of the protruding marks used in certain methods of writing and printing for the blind.
  • n. Mathematics A dimensionless geometric object having no properties except location.
  • n. Mathematics An element in a geometrically described set.
  • n. A place or locality considered with regard to its position: connections to Chicago and points west.
  • n. A narrowly particularized and localized position or place; a spot: The troops halted at a point roughly 1,000 yards from the river.
  • n. A specified degree, condition, or limit, as in a scale or course: the melting point of a substance.
  • n. Any of the 32 equal divisions marked at the circumference of a mariner's compass card that indicate direction.
  • n. The interval of 11°15ʹ between any two adjacent markings.
  • n. A distinct condition or degree: finally reached the point of exhaustion.
  • n. The interval of time immediately before a given occurrence; the verge: on the point of resignation; at the point of death.
  • n. A specific moment in time: At this point, we are ready to proceed.
  • n. An objective or purpose to be reached or achieved, or one that is worth reaching or achieving: What is the point of discussing this issue further?
  • n. The major idea or essential part of a concept or narrative: You have missed the whole point of the novel.
  • n. A significant, outstanding, or effective idea, argument, or suggestion: Your point is well taken.
  • n. A separate, distinguishing item or element; a detail: Diplomacy is certainly not one of his strong points. Your weak point is your constant need for approval.
  • n. A quality or characteristic that is important or distinctive, especially a standard characteristic used to judge an animal.
  • n. A single unit, as in counting, rating, or measuring.
  • n. A unit of academic credit usually equal to one hour of class work per week during one semester.
  • n. A numerical unit of academic achievement equal to a letter grade.
  • n. Sports & Games A unit of scoring or counting.
  • n. A unit equal to one dollar, used to quote or state variations in the current prices of stocks or commodities.
  • n. A unit equal to one percent, used to quote or state interest rates or shares in gross profits.
  • n. One percent of the total principal of a loan, paid up front to the lender and considered separately from the interest.
  • n. Music A phrase, such as a fugue subject, in contrapuntal music.
  • n. Printing A unit of type size equal to 0.01384 inch, or approximately 1/72 of an inch.
  • n. A jeweler's unit of weight equal to 2 milligrams or 0.01 carat.
  • n. The act or an instance of pointing.
  • n. The stiff and attentive stance taken by a hunting dog.
  • n. Needlepoint.
  • n. See bobbin lace.
  • n. A reconnaissance or patrol unit that moves ahead of an advance party or guard, or that follows a rear guard.
  • n. The position occupied by such a unit or guard: A team of Rangers were walking point at the outset of the operation.
  • n. Sports Either of two positions in ice hockey just inside the offensive zone near the boards, usually assumed by defenders attempting to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
  • n. Basketball A position in the forecourt beyond the top of the key, usually taken by the point guard.
  • n. An electrical contact, especially one in the distributor of an automobile engine.
  • n. Chiefly British An electrical socket or outlet.
  • n. The extremities of an animal, such as a horse or dog.
  • n. A movable rail, tapered at the end, such as that used in a railroad switch.
  • n. The vertex of the angle created by the intersection of rails in a frog or switch.
  • n. A ribbon or cord with a metal tag at the end, used to fasten clothing in the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • transitive v. To direct or aim: point a weapon. See Synonyms at aim.
  • transitive v. To bring (something) to notice: pointed out an error in their reasoning.
  • transitive v. To indicate the position or direction of: pointed out the oldest buildings on the skyline.
  • transitive v. To sharpen (a pencil, for example); provide with a point.
  • transitive v. To separate with decimal points: pointing off the hundredths place in a column of figures.
  • transitive v. To mark (text) with points; punctuate.
  • transitive v. Linguistics To mark (a consonant) with a vowel point.
  • transitive v. To give emphasis to; stress: comments that simply point up flawed reasoning.
  • transitive v. To indicate the presence and position of (game) by standing immobile and directing the muzzle toward it. Used of a hunting dog.
  • transitive v. To fill and finish the joints of (masonry) with cement or mortar.
  • intransitive v. To direct attention or indicate position with or as if with the finger.
  • intransitive v. To turn the mind or thought in a particular direction or to a particular conclusion: All indications point to an early spring.
  • intransitive v. To be turned or faced in a given direction; aim.
  • intransitive v. To indicate the presence and position of game. Used of a hunting dog.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To sail close to the wind.
  • idiom beside the point Irrelevant to the matter at hand.
  • idiom in point Having relevance or pertinence.
  • idiom in point of With reference to; in the matter of: In point of fact, I never lived at the address stated on the form.
  • idiom make a point of To consider or treat (an action or activity) as indispensable: made a point of visiting their niece on the way home.
  • idiom stretch a point To make an exception.
  • idiom to the point Concerning or with relevance to the matter at hand: remarks that were to the point; rambled and would not speak to the point.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A discrete division of something.
  • n. A sharp extremity.
  • v. To extend the index finger in the direction of something in order to show where it is or to draw attention to it.
  • v. To draw attention to something or indicate a direction.
  • v. to indicate a probability of something
  • v. To repair mortar.
  • v. To direct or encourage (someone) in a particular direction
  • v. to separate an integer from a decimal with a decimal point
  • v. to mark with diacritics
  • v. To direct the central processing unit to seek information at a certain location in memory.
  • v. To direct requests sent to a domain name to the IP address corresponding to that domain name.
  • v. to sail close to the wind

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which pricks or pierces; the sharp end of anything, esp. the sharp end of a piercing instrument, as a needle or a pin.
  • n. An instrument which pricks or pierces, as a sort of needle used by engravers, etchers, lace workers, and others; also, a pointed cutting tool, as a stone cutter's point; -- called also pointer.
  • n. Anything which tapers to a sharp, well-defined termination. Specifically: A small promontory or cape; a tract of land extending into the water beyond the common shore line.
  • n. The mark made by the end of a sharp, piercing instrument, as a needle; a prick.
  • n. An indefinitely small space; a mere spot indicated or supposed. Specifically: (Geom.) That which has neither parts nor magnitude; that which has position, but has neither length, breadth, nor thickness, -- sometimes conceived of as the limit of a line; that by the motion of which a line is conceived to be produced.
  • n. An indivisible portion of time; a moment; an instant; hence, the verge.
  • n. A mark of punctuation; a character used to mark the divisions of a composition, or the pauses to be observed in reading, or to point off groups of figures, etc.; a stop, as a comma, a semicolon, and esp. a period; hence, figuratively, an end, or conclusion.
  • n. Whatever serves to mark progress, rank, or relative position, or to indicate a transition from one state or position to another, degree; step; stage; hence, position or condition attained
  • n. That which arrests attention, or indicates qualities or character; a salient feature; a characteristic; a peculiarity; hence, a particular; an item; a detail
  • n. Hence, the most prominent or important feature, as of an argument, discourse, etc.; the essential matter; esp., the proposition to be established.
  • n. A small matter; a trifle; a least consideration; a punctilio.
  • n. A dot or mark used to designate certain tones or time.
  • n. A dot or mark distinguishing or characterizing certain tones or styles; ; hence, a note; a tune.
  • n. A dot placed at the right hand of a note, to raise its value, or prolong its time, by one half, as to make a whole note equal to three half notes, a half note equal to three quarter notes.
  • n. A fixed conventional place for reference, or zero of reckoning, in the heavens, usually the intersection of two or more great circles of the sphere, and named specifically in each case according to the position intended
  • n. One of the several different parts of the escutcheon. See Escutcheon.
  • n.
  • n. One of the points of the compass (see Points of the compass, below); also, the difference between two points of the compass.
  • n. A short piece of cordage used in reefing sails. See Reef point, under Reef.
  • n. A a string or lace used to tie together certain parts of the dress.
  • n. Lace wrought the needle. See Point lace, below.
  • n. A switch.
  • n. An item of private information; a hint; a tip; a pointer.
  • n. A fielder who is stationed on the off side, about twelve or fifteen yards from, and a little in advance of, the batsman.
  • n. The attitude assumed by a pointer dog when he finds game. See Pointer.
  • n. A standard unit of measure for the size of type bodies, being one twelfth of the thickness of pica type. See Point system of type, under Type.
  • n. A tyne or snag of an antler.
  • n. One of the spaces on a backgammon board.
  • n. A movement executed with the saber or foil.
  • n. A pointed piece of quill or bone covered at one end with vaccine matter; -- called also vaccine point.
  • n. One of the raised dots used in certain systems of printing and writing for the blind. The first practical system was that devised by Louis Braille in 1829, and still used in Europe (see Braille). Two modifications of this are current in the United States: New York point founded on three bases of equidistant points arranged in two lines (viz., : :: :::), and a later improvement, American Braille, embodying the Braille base (:::) and the New-York-point principle of using the characters of few points for the commonest letters.
  • n.
  • n. In various games, a position of a certain player, or, by extension, the player himself
  • n. A spot to which a straight run is made; hence, a straight run from point to point; a cross-country run.
  • n. The perpendicular rising of a hawk over the place where its prey has gone into cover.
  • n. Act of pointing, as of the foot downward in certain dance positions.
  • v. To appoint.
  • intransitive v. To direct the point of something, as of a finger, for the purpose of designating an object, and attracting attention to it; -- with at.
  • intransitive v. To indicate the presence of game by fixed and steady look, as certain hunting dogs do.
  • intransitive v. To approximate to the surface; to head; -- said of an abscess.
  • transitive v. To give a point to; to sharpen; to cut, forge, grind, or file to an acute end. Used also figuratively.
  • transitive v. To direct toward an abject; to aim.
  • transitive v. Hence, to direct the attention or notice of.
  • transitive v. To supply with punctuation marks; to punctuate.
  • transitive v. To mark (a text, as in Arabic or Hebrew) with vowel points; -- also called vocalize.
  • transitive v. To give particular prominence to; to designate in a special manner; to indicate, as if by pointing.
  • transitive v. To indicate or discover by a fixed look, as game.
  • transitive v. To fill up and finish the joints of (a wall), by introducing additional cement or mortar, and bringing it to a smooth surface.
  • transitive v. To cut, as a surface, with a pointed tool.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The sharp end of something, as of a thorn, pin, needle, knife, sword, etc.
  • n. That which tapers to or has a sharp end; a tapering thing with a sharp apex
  • n. In etching, an engraving tool consisting of a metallic point, a sewing-needle or a medium embroidery-needle, or a rat-tail file ground to an evenly rounded tapering point, not too sharp if intended for use on an etching-ground, but much more trenchant if it is to be employed in dry-point on the bare copper.
  • n. In printing, a projecting pin on a press for marking the register by perforating the paper
  • n. A small diamond or fragment of a diamond used for cutting glass.
  • n. A punch used by stone-masons to form narrow ridges in the face of a stone which is to be afterward dressed down.
  • n. A wedge-shaped chisel for nigging ashler
  • n. A triangular piece of zinc for holding glass in the sash before the putty is put in.
  • n. plural In railroading, the switches or movable guiding-rails at junctions or stations.
  • n. A branch of a deer's antler. See antler.
  • n. In backgammon, one of the narrow tapering spaces on which the men are placed
  • n. plural Spurs or stout needles suitably fastened in a flat board, on which printed sheets are placed by passing the needles through the point-holes; this is done to insure the exact cutting of printed sheets that have uneven margins. Knight, Bookbinding.
  • n. A salient or projecting part; a part of an object projecting abruptly from it, as a peak or promontory from the land or coast.
  • n. A salient feature or physical peculiarity: especially, a feature which determines the excellence of an animal; characteristic; trait.
  • n. The salient feature of a story, discourse, epigram, or remark; that part or feature of a saying, etc., which gives it application; the directly effective part; hence, the possession of such a feature; force or expression generally: as, he failed to see the point of the joke; his action gave point to his words.
  • n. The precise question or matter in dispute or under consideration; the principal thing to be attended to; the main difficulty to be met or obviated: as, these are side issues—let us come to the point.
  • n. An indivisible part of an argument, narrative, or account; a particular; a detail; an item. See at all points and in point of, below.
  • n. Particular end, aim, purpose, or concern; object desired: as, to gain one's point.
  • n. Case; condition; situation; state: plight.
  • n. A deed or feat; an exploit.
  • n. A mark made by the end of a sharp instrument, such as a pin, needle, pen, etc.; a dot or other sign to mark separation, to measure from, etc.
  • n. Hence— A stop; a conclusion; a period.
  • n. A diacritical mark, indicating a vowel, or other modification of sound: especially in Hebrew, Arabic, etc.
  • n. A dot used in writing numbers— inserted after the units' place to show where the decimals begin (specifically called a decimal point); or placed over a repeating decimal, or over the first and last figures of a circulating decimal : thus, ; or used to separate a series of figures representing a number into periods of a certain number of figures each
  • n. In musical notation, a dot affixed to a note, either after it, to increase its time-value (see dot), or above or below it, as a sign of a staccato effect (see staccato).
  • n. A speck or spot; a jot; a trace; hence, figuratively, a very small quantity.
  • n. An object having position but not extension.
  • n. In astronomy, a certain place marked in the heavens, or distinguished for its importance in astronomical calculations: as, vertical points (the zenith and the nadir); equinoctial points; solstitial points.
  • n. In perspective, any definitive position with reference to the perspective plane: as, point of sight; vanishing-point
  • n. That which has position in time, but no definite continuance; an instant of time.
  • n. Precise limit or degree; especially, the precise degree of temperature: as, the boiling-point of water.
  • n. A small unit of measurement.
  • n. Naut, an angular unit, one eighth of a right angle, or 11¼, being the angle between adjacent points of the compass (see compass, n., 7): as, to bring the ship up half a point.
  • n. A unit of fluctuation of price per share or other standard of reference on the exchanges, etc.
  • n. A unit of count in a game (compare def. 19); hence, an advantage in any struggle: as, I have gained a point.
  • n. In piquet, the number of cards in the longest suit of a hand: as, what is your point? Six.
  • n. In lace-making, needle-points lace: as, Alencon point; Dresden point; a collar of point. See cut under lace.
  • n. A lace with tags at the end.
  • n. A fastening resembling a tagged lacing.
  • n. In fencing, a stab or puncture with the point of a sword; a blow with the button of the foil when properly directed: as, he can give me three points in ten (i. e., he can make ten hits or points on me while I make seven on him).
  • n. In heraldry: One of the nine recognized positions on the shield which denote the locality of figures or charges.
  • n. The middle part of either the chief or the base as distinguished from the dexter and sinister cantons
  • n. A bearing which occupies the base of the escutcheon.
  • n. A division of the field barwise: thus, three points gules, argent, and azure, means that the field is divided into three horizontal stripes, of which the uppermost is red, the middle one silver, etc.
  • n. Ordinance; law; act.
  • n. A slur; an indignity.
  • n. The action or attitude of a dog in pointing game: as, he comes to a point well.
  • n. In games: In cricket, a fielder who stands at a short distance to the right of the batsman, and slightly in front of him. See diagram under cricket.
  • n. In lacrosse, a player Who stands a short distance in front of the goal, and whose duty is to prevent the ball from passing through the goal
  • n. plural In base-ball, the position occupied by the pitcher.
  • n. A thing to be pointed at, or the mere act of pointing; especially, a flitch of bacon or the like, which is not eaten, but only pointed at as a pretense for seasoning: as, to dine on potatoes and point (that is, on nothing but potatoes): a jocular expression in vogue in Ireland.
  • n. A particular signal given, as by the blast of a trumpet or the beat of a drum; hence, a note; a call.
  • n. In music, the entrance of a voice or an instrument with an important theme or motive.
  • n. In astrology See cardinal.
  • n. In optics six points on the axis of a lens or system of lenses, including two focal points, which are the foci for parallel rays; two nodal points, so situated that an incident ray through one emerges in a parallel direction through the other; two principal points—those points on the axis through which the so-called principal planes pass: these planes are parallel to the axis, and so situated that the line joining the points in which an incident ray meets the first and the corresponding emergent ray meets the second is parallel to the axis; under certain conditions the principal points may coincide with the nodal points.
  • n. in good case or condition. Sec def. 9.
  • n. Applicable; apposite; appropriate; exactly fitting the case.
  • n. Lace having a bride ground, as opposed to that having a réseau ground.
  • n. A much smaller solid or mat surface, square or oblong, used to diversify the net ground of certain laces
  • n. In heraldry, a point in the escutcheon immediately above the center: also called the heart.
  • n. Applicationlace in which such pillow-made flowers are applied to a net ground. See application-lace and Brussels lace (both under lace).
  • n. To give a valuable or advantageous hint, indication, or piece of information to : as, he can give us points on that subject.
  • n. To make a particular desired impression; “score.”
  • Made with the needle: said of lace. Compare needle-point.
  • To prick with a pointed instrument; pierce.
  • To supply or adorn with points. See point, n., 19.
  • To mark with characters for the purpose of separating the members of a sentence and indicating the pauses; punctuate: as, to point a written composition.
  • To direct toward an object; aim: as, to point a gun; to point the finger of scorn at one.
  • To direct the observation or attention of. Whosoever should be guided through his battles by Minerva, and pointed to every scene of them, would see nothing but subjects of surprise.
  • To indicate; show; make manifest: often with out.
  • To indicate the purpose or point of.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, partly from Old French point, prick, mark, moment (from Vulgar Latin *punctum, from Latin pūnctum, from neuter past participle of pungere, to prick) and partly from Old French pointe, sharp end (from Vulgar Latin *puncta, from Latin pūncta, from feminine past participle of pungere, to prick).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").


  • Shkedy's team uses the Bible as a starting point to see what animals were once in Israel, reading the Scriptures with a conservationists 'point of view.

    Zookeepers Try To Repopulate Israel With Biblical Animals

  • Thom: And back to Chris Hedges 'point, and the larger point of is the planet melting down, are we melting down, and is it because of the way we think?

    OpEdNews - Diary: Chris Hedges' Extraordinary New Book "Empire of Illusion"

  • BROWN: Go ahead, David, but to address this point about whether or not the players have leverage really or, as to James 'point earlier, would the owners actually decide, you know, if this turned into something, like, hey, we don't want to deal with this; who needs the controversy?

    CNN Transcript Oct 12, 2009

  • "" We're trying to tell players that once you go past the point of [impasse], it's difficult to put the yolk back in the egg, '' said the Boston Red Sox's John Harrington, the owners 'point man.

    Baseball's Hardest Sell

  • I want to just make one point about Paul's point -- James 'point, excuse me, and that it's not just Democrats that are -- excuse me, Republicans that are fired up this way and making these horrible statements like the one woman and even the gentleman who shouted "terrorist," listen, let me show you some of the e-mails that I get from the fired up left and Obama supporters.

    CNN Transcript Oct 12, 2008

  • Thus, while Zeno accepts Socrates 'point that his own arguments aim to show that there are not many things, he corrects Socrates' impression that, in arguing this point, he was just saying the same thing as Parmenides in a different form.

    Zeno of Elea

  • BROWN: But to Lars 'point, to Lar's point, Gloria, let's play devil's advocate, why are we demonizing all lobbyists?

    CNN Transcript Jul 28, 2008

  • They had this thing called 'point of information 'where they get up and say point of information, and the speaker can choose to accept or decline, and the WA side did it so often, I swear it was just like the speaker had to just keep waving his arm in a' sit down 'motion.

    blu94anjel Diary Entry

  • AMY HOLMES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: On Rowland's point and Bill 'point, I agree a lot of his speech was inspiring and the type of rhetoric we love as fellow Americans.

    CNN Transcript Jan 26, 2008

  • The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants from any 'point source' to waters of the United States unless authorized under a permit that is issued by EPA or a qualified state, and the act expressly defines CAFOs as point sources.

    Archive 2007-08-01


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  • JM bought a pencil with an eraser at both ends and just can’t see the point!

    May 31, 2011

  • "Point means the ear cut to a point, but is sometimes used for the 'fork' mark..."

    —W. Walter Gill, Manx Dialect Words and Phrases, 1934

    April 23, 2009