Slang dictionary

on point

[on point]

What does on point mean?

On point is “exactly right” or “perfect.” In slang, the expression often describes someone as “on their game” or “looking sharp.”

Related words:

Where does on point come from?

on point

The are several historic uses of on point so get ready for a history lesson …

The first relates to law enforcement and the military, with a person on point when stationed at their post or standing guard. This dates back to the 1880s.

The second concerns ballet, with a dancer on point when balanced on the tip of their toes. We can find uses of this phrase in the early 1900s.

The third involves the law. As early as the 1930s, on point described something as “relevant” in legal contexts. Think to the point.

It’s hard to tell which of these three uses directly inspired the slang, but we can imagine how something “accurate,” “in form,” or “alert” became associated with excellence and style.

And, it seems we can thank hip-hop, too. In the 1990s, we can find on point for “ready to go” in hip-hop lyrics, which expanded to “being on one’s game” or “right on.”

And, then in the 2000s, on point especially named a stylin’ outfit.

Examples of on point

Her acting has been on point for the last couple of episodes
williammiller (commenter), Oh No They Didn't!, February, 2012
my matching skills are on point even my hair goes with the outfit
@taylorndean, May, 2018
My boys will pull up on ya, homie, I ain't talkin' diapers / Walk into your function, on point, I'm like a sniper
T-Wayne, "Nasty Freestyle" (song), 2015

Who uses on point?

On point often describes an athlete or performer whose done something exceptional or is enjoying a hot streak.

On point also frequently describes something as “excellent,” especially when lookin’ good or in its best form.

Very often, on point characterizes a joke or observation as “spot on.”

On point, finally, is ever fashionable.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of on point like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of on point that will help our users expand their word mastery.