[ points-muhn ]

noun,plural points·men.British.
  1. a railway switchman.

  2. a police officer who directs traffic, as at an intersection.

Origin of pointsman

First recorded in 1840–50; point + -s3 + man

Words Nearby pointsman

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pointsman in a sentence

  • The scenery of the pointsman is sufficiently ingenious to satisfy the cravings for sensation of a typical British audience.

  • The pointsman is likely to remain on the line of the Olympic bills for many a week to come.

  • The company says--he is--and the public says--he is; but I'm--a pointsman--and I know--better.

    London's Heart | B. L. (Benjamin Leopold) Farjeon
  • A pointsman's back straightened itself upright suddenly against a tramway standard by Mr Bloom's window.

    Ulysses | James Joyce
  • In the meantime the pointsman had fled on foot to the next station, and telegraphed the startling news from there to Quetta.

    General Gatacre | Beatrix Gatacre

British Dictionary definitions for pointsman


/ (ˈpɔɪntsˌmæn, -mən) /

nounplural -men
  1. a person who operates railway points: US and Canadian equivalent: switchman

  2. a policeman or traffic warden on point duty

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