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[dot] /dɒt/
a small, roundish mark made with or as if with a pen.
a minute or small spot on a surface; speck:
There were dots of soot on the window sill.
anything relatively small or specklike.
a small specimen, section, amount, or portion:
a dot of butter.
a period, especially as used when pronouncing an Internet address.
  1. a point placed after a note or rest, to indicate that the duration of the note or rest is to be increased one half. A double dot further increases the duration by one half the value of the single dot.
  2. a point placed under or over a note to indicate that it is to be played staccato.
Telegraphy. a signal of shorter duration than a dash, used in groups along with groups of dashes and spaces to represent letters, as in Morse code.
Printing. an individual element in a halftone reproduction.
verb (used with object), dotted, dotting.
to mark with or as if with a dot or dots.
to stud or diversify with or as if with dots:
Trees dot the landscape.
to form or cover with dots:
He dotted a line across the page.
Cookery. to sprinkle with dabs of butter, margarine, or the like:
Dot the filling with butter.
verb (used without object), dotted, dotting.
to make a dot or dots.
dot one's i's and cross one's t's, to be meticulous or precise, even to the smallest detail.
on the dot, Informal. precisely; exactly at the time specified:
The guests arrived at eight o'clock on the dot.
the year dot, British Informal. very long ago.
Origin of dot1
before 1000; perhaps to be identified with Old English dott head of a boil, though not attested in Middle English; cf. dottle, dit, derivative of Old English dyttan to stop up (probably derivative of dott); cognate with Old High German tutta nipple
Related forms
dotlike, adjective
dotter, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dotting
Historical Examples
  • Rock-fragments appeared, dotting the surface of ridges and coulees.

    Prairie Flowers

    James B. Hendryx
  • A smile covered her face, dotting her cheeks with two tiny dimples.

    The Loyalist James Francis Barrett
  • Before them, dotting the hillside, were the much-coveted tents.

    My Days and Nights on the Battle-Field Charles Carleton Coffin
  • It cannot be achieved by dotting India with Swadeshi stores.

    The Wheel of Fortune Mahatma Gandhi
  • By March, these dotting foot-tracks thread the snow everywhere.

  • Large, damp snowflakes were drifting down, dotting her red mittens.

    Ghost Beyond the Gate Mildred A. Wirt
  • When Versailles found out the manœuvre, it changed the dotting of the stamps.

  • The perfume sweetens the lips; flowers must be dotting this hedge.

    Woman Magdeleine Marx
  • Then simultaneously they began the dotting and dashing again.

    A Honeymoon in Space

    George Griffith
  • He saw, dotting the floor of the basin, the roofs of houses.

    Square Deal Sanderson

    Charles Alden Seltzer
British Dictionary definitions for dotting


a small round mark made with or as with a pen, etc; spot; speck; point
anything resembling a dot; a small amount: a dot of paint
the mark (˙) that appears above the main stem of the letters i, j
  1. the symbol (·) placed after a note or rest to increase its time value by half
  2. this symbol written above or below a note indicating that it must be played or sung staccato
(maths, logic)
  1. the symbol (.) indicating multiplication or logical conjunction
  2. a decimal point
the symbol (·) used, in combination with the symbol for dash (–), in the written representation of Morse and other telegraphic codes Compare dit
(informal) the year dot, as long ago as can be remembered
on the dot, at exactly the arranged time
verb dots, dotting, dotted
(transitive) to mark or form with a dot: to dot a letter, a dotted crotchet
(transitive) to scatter or intersperse (with dots or something resembling dots): bushes dotting the plain
(intransitive) to make a dot or dots
dot one's i's and cross one's t's, to pay meticulous attention to detail
Derived Forms
dotter, noun
Word Origin
Old English dott head of a boil; related to Old High German tutta nipple, Norwegian dott, Dutch dott lump


(civil law) a woman's dowry
Derived Forms
dotal (ˈdəʊtəl) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from French, from Latin dōs; related to dōtāre to endow, dāre to give
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dotting



Old English dott "speck, head of a boil," perhaps related to Norwegian dot "lump, small knot," Dutch dot "knot, small bunch, wisp," Old High German tutta "nipple;" ultimate origin unclear.

Known from a single source c.1000; the word reappeared with modern meaning "mark" c.1530; not common until 18c. Morse telegraph sense is from 1838. On the dot "punctual" is 1909, in reference to a clock dial face. Dot-matrix first attested 1975.



1740, from dot (n.). Related: Dotted; dotting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dotting in Medicine

dot 1 (dŏt)
A tiny round mark made by or as if by a pointed instrument; a spot.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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dotting in Science
  1. A symbol (·) indicating multiplication, as in 2 · 4 = 8. It is used to indicate the dot product of vectors, for example A · B.

  2. A period, as used as in URLs and e-mail addresses, to separate strings of words, as in

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with dotting


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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