- the extremities of an animal, especially a horse or dog.
- Railroads, British.a switch.
- the position of the fielder who plays a short distance in front of and to the offside of the batsman.
- the fielder playing this position.
- the action of a hunting dog that indicates the presence and location of game by standing rigid and directing its head toward the game.
- the position taken by a hunting dog in pointing game.
- Also called breaker point.either of a pair of contacts tipped with tungsten or platinum that make or break current flow in a distributor, as in an automobile.
- British.an outlet or socket.
- a unit of price quotation, as in the U.S., one dollar in stock transactions, one hundredth of a cent in cotton and coffee, or one cent in oil, grain, pork, etc.: The price of stock went up two points today.
- (especially in motion pictures) a percentage point, usually of the gross profits, granted to someone who agrees to invest or otherwise participate in a business project: The star of the movie received a million dollar guarantee and five points.
- a patrol or reconnaissance unit that goes ahead of the advance party of an advance guard, or follows the rear party of the rear guard.
- the stroke in bayonet drill or combat.
- a unit of type measurement in the U.S. and U.K. equal to 1/72 inch, or 1/12 pica.Compare Didot point system.
- Also called press-point.(in a press) one of several metal prongs for perforating the sheet so that it will be in register when the reverse is printed.
- the vertex of the angle formed at a frog by two rails; the intersection of gauge lines in a switch or frog.
- British.a tapering movable rail, as in a railroad switch.
verb (used with object)
- to fill the joints of (brickwork, stonework, etc.) with mortar or cement treated in various ways with tools after application.
- to dress the surface of (a stone) with a pointed tool.
- to narrow the end of (a rod) for passing through the dies of a drawbench.
- to narrow the end of (a tube) over the head of a pin that is gripped to pull the tube through the dies of a drawbench.
verb (used without object)
Origin of point
- a geometric element having no dimensions and whose position in space is located by means of its coordinates
- a locationpoint of inflection
- a unit of value used to quote security and commodity prices and their fluctuations
- a percentage unit sometimes payable by a borrower as a premium on a loan
- one of the 32 marks on the circumference of a compass card indicating direction
- the angle of 11°15′ between two adjacent marks
- a point on the horizon indicated by such a mark
- a fielding position at right angles to the batsman on the off side and relatively near the pitch
- a fielder in this position
- to make (something) one's regular habit
- to do (something) because one thinks it important
- to make a concession or exception not usually made
- to exaggerate
Word Origin for point
c.1200, "minute amount, single item in a whole; sharp end of a sword, etc.," a merger of two words, both ultimately from Latin pungere "prick, pierce, puncture" (see pungent). The Latin neuter past participle punctum was used as a noun, meaning "small hole made by pricking," subsequently extended to anything that looked like one, hence, "dot, particle," etc. This yielded Old French point "dot; smallest amount," which was borrowed in Middle English by c.1300.
Meanwhile the Latin fem. past participle of pungere was puncta, which was used in Medieval Latin to mean "sharp tip," and became Old French pointe "point of a weapon, vanguard of an army," which also passed into English, early 14c.
The senses have merged in English, but remain distinct in French. Extended senses are from the notion of "minute, single, or separate items in an extended whole." Meaning "small mark, dot" in English is mid-14c. Meaning "distinguishing feature" is recorded from late 15c. Meaning "a unit of score in a game" is first recorded 1746. As a typeface unit (in Britain and U.S., one twelfth of a pica), it went into use in U.S. 1883. As a measure of weight for precious stones (one one-hundredth of a carat) it is recorded from 1931.
The point "the matter being discussed" is attested from late 14c.; meaning "sense, purpose, advantage" (usually in the negative, e.g. what's the point?) is first recorded 1903. Point of honor (1610s) translates French point d'honneur. Point of no return (1941) is originally aviators' term for the point in a flight "before which any engine failure requires an immediate turn around and return to the point of departure, and beyond which such return is no longer practical."
late 14c., "indicate with the finger;" c.1400, "wound by stabbing; make pauses in reading a text; seal or fill openings or joints or between tiles," partly from Old French pointoier "to prick, stab, jab, mark," and also from point (n.).
Mid-15c. as "to stitch, mend." From late 15c. as "stitch, mend;" also "furnish (a garment) with tags or laces for fastening;" from late 15c. as "aim (something)." Related: Pointed; pointing. To point up "emphasize" is from 1934; to point out is from 1570s.
stretch a point
Extend or enlarge beyond the usual limits, exaggerate, as in It would be stretching a point to say this novel is the work of a great writer. [Mid-1600s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with point
- point in time
- point of no return
- point of view
- point out
- point the finger at
- point up
- at sword's point
- at that point
- at this point
- belabor the point
- beside the point
- boiling point
- brownie points
- case in point
- get to the point
- hit the high spots (points)
- in (point of) fact
- in point
- jumping-off place (point)
- make a point of
- make one's point
- miss the point
- moot point
- on the point of
- possession is nine points of the law
- sore point
- stretch a point
- strong point
- take someone's point
- to the point
- up to a point
- win on points