Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. The distance between a gun and a target such that it requires minimal effort in aiming it. In particular no allowance needs to be made for effects of gravity, target movement or wind in aiming the projectile.
  • adv. Horizontally (as the angle at which a projectile is launched); directly or straight (at the target).
  • adv. Directly; bluntly; without pretense or caution.

Etymologies

This common shooting term derives old English longbow practices: A common target was the white skull of a bull, and the greatest skill could be illustrated by getting a "bulls eye". When the archer is far from the target, the arrow must be pointed high, due to the arched trajectory of an arrow. When the archer is very close to the target, then he may point directly, without aiming above the white bull's skull, hence "pointing at the white", or "Point Blanc" as it was stated in those times. Some say that the term comes from French, where point means the aim, blanc means white. The term is now an established military term, "Point Blank" range, or the distance at which a firearm can be directly aimed at the target without consideration of the arched trajectory. Modern firearms often have a "Point Blank" range of a few hundred yards. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I called Mr. X's attention to the fact that in my opinion an erotic conflict was concealed in the dream, and asked him point blank whether he had taken part in a love story.

    The Journal of Abnormal Psychology

  •  Well, when I refused point blank to marry Achmed - and you must bear in mind that this was at the start of the month of Ramadan with the wedding only weeks away, for it was to be celebrated at the same time as the feast of Bid al-Fitr which marks the end of our fast -- Raschid did not attempt to argue or reason with me.

    Falcon's Prey

  • All he could do was fire straight ahead — "Audley pointed his finger across the valley" — and that's what Edmund Steyning did for a whole week: he fired point blank into a great bank of wet earth and vexed nobody.

    War Game

  • Immediately, V-187 was surrounded by eight British destroyers, who circled their crippled opponent, firing point blank at 600 yards.

    Castles of Steel

  • Here I was brought into point blank collision with Rev.Dr. Cox, who made me the subject not only of bitter remark in the convention, but also of a long denunciatory letter published in the New York Evangelist and other American papers.

    My Bondage and My Freedom. Part I.--Life as a Slave. Part II.--Life as a Freeman

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "the French define this term to be the point where the trajectoral line, or line described by the shot, intersects the line of sight the second time."

    More common spelling is point-blank. More info on that page.

    October 9, 2008