Point (?), v. t. [imp. & p.
p. Pointed; p. pr. & vb. n.
Pointing.] [Cf. F. pointer. See Point,
n.] 1. To give a point to; to
sharpen; to cut, forge, grind, or file to an acute end; as, to
point a dart, or a pencil. Used also figuratively; as, to
point a moral.
2. To direct toward an abject; to aim; as, to
point a gun at a wolf, or a cannon at a fort.
3. Hence, to direct the attention or notice
Whosoever should be guided through his battles by
Minerva, and pointed to every scene of them.
4. To supply with punctuation marks; to
punctuate; as, to point a composition.
5. To mark (as Hebrew) with vowel
6. To give particular prominence to; to
designate in a special manner; to indicate, as if by pointing; as, the
error was pointed out. Pope.
He points it, however, by no deviation from his
straightforward manner of speech. Dickens.
7. To indicate or discover by a fixed look, as
8. (Masonry) To fill up and finish the
joints of (a wall), by introducing additional cement or mortar, and
bringing it to a smooth surface.
9. (Stone Cutting) To cut, as a
surface, with a pointed tool.
To point a rope (Naut.), to taper and
neatly finish off the end by interweaving the nettles. --
To point a sail (Naut.), to affix points
through the eyelet holes of the reefs. -- To point
off, to divide into periods or groups, or to separate,
by pointing, as figures. -- To point the yards
(of a vessel) (Naut.), to brace them so that the wind shall
strike the sails obliquely. Totten.
Point, n. [F. point, and probably
also pointe, L. punctum, puncta, fr.
pungere, punctum, to prick. See Pungent, and cf.
Puncto, Puncture.] 1. That which
pricks or pierces; the sharp end of anything, esp. the sharp end of a
piercing instrument, as a needle or a pin.
2. An instrument which pricks or pierces, as a
sort of needle used by engravers, etchers, lace workers, and others;
also, a pointed cutting tool, as a stone cutter's point; --
called also pointer.
3. Anything which tapers to a sharp, well-
defined termination. Specifically: A small promontory or cape; a tract
of land extending into the water beyond the common shore
4. The mark made by the end of a sharp,
piercing instrument, as a needle; a prick.
5. An indefinitely small space; a mere spot
indicated or supposed. Specifically: (Geom.) That which has
neither parts nor magnitude; that which has position, but has neither
length, breadth, nor thickness, -- sometimes conceived of as the limit
of a line; that by the motion of which a line is conceived to be
6. An indivisible portion of time; a moment;
an instant; hence, the verge.
When time's first point begun Sir J. Davies.
Made he all souls.
7. A mark of punctuation; a character used to
mark the divisions of a composition, or the pauses to be observed in
reading, or to point off groups of figures, etc.; a stop, as a comma,
a semicolon, and esp. a period; hence, figuratively, an end, or
And there a point, for ended is my
Commas and points they set exactly
8. Whatever serves to mark progress, rank, or
relative position, or to indicate a transition from one state or
position to another, degree; step; stage; hence, position or condition
attained; as, a point of elevation, or of depression; the stock
fell off five points; he won by tenpoints. "A
point of precedence." Selden. "Creeping on from
point to point." Tennyson.
A lord full fat and in good point.
9. That which arrests attention, or indicates
qualities or character; a salient feature; a characteristic; a
peculiarity; hence, a particular; an item; a detail; as, the good or
bad points of a man, a horse, a book, a story, etc.
He told him, point for point, in short
and plain. Chaucer.
In point of religion and in point of
Shalt thou dispute
With Him the points of liberty ?
10. Hence, the most prominent or important
feature, as of an argument, discourse, etc.; the essential matter;
esp., the proposition to be established; as, the point of an
anecdote. "Here lies the point." Shak.
They will hardly prove his point.
11. A small matter; a trifle; a least
consideration; a punctilio.
This fellow doth not stand upon
[He] cared not for God or man a
12. (Mus.) A dot or mark used to
designate certain tones or time; as: (a)
(Anc. Mus.) A dot or mark distinguishing or characterizing
certain tones or styles; as, points of perfection, of
augmentation, etc.; hence, a note; a tune. "Sound the trumpet -
- not a levant, or a flourish, but a point of war." Sir W.
Scott. (b) (Mod. Mus.) A dot placed at
the right hand of a note, to raise its value, or prolong its time, by
one half, as to make a whole note equal to three half notes, a half
note equal to three quarter notes.
13. (Astron.) A fixed conventional
place for reference, or zero of reckoning, in the heavens, usually the
intersection of two or more great circles of the sphere, and named
specifically in each case according to the position intended; as, the
equinoctial points; the solstitial points; the nodal
points; vertical points, etc. See Equinoctial
14. (Her.) One of the several different
parts of the escutcheon. See Escutcheon.
15. (Naut.) (a) One of
the points of the compass (see Points of the compass, below);
also, the difference between two points of the compass; as, to fall
off a point. (b) A short piece of
cordage used in reefing sails. See Reef point, under
16. (Anc. Costume) A a string or lace
used to tie together certain parts of the dress. Sir W.
17. Lace wrought the needle; as, point
de Venise; Brussels point. See Point lace,
18. pl. (Railways) A
19. An item of private information; a hint; a
tip; a pointer. [Cant, U. S.]
20. (Cricket) A fielder who is
stationed on the off side, about twelve or fifteen yards from, and a
little in advance of, the batsman.
21. The attitude assumed by a pointer dog when
he finds game; as, the dog came to a point. See
22. (Type Making) A standard unit of
measure for the size of type bodies, being one twelfth of the
thickness of pica type. See Point system of type, under
23. A tyne or snag of an antler.
24. One of the spaces on a backgammon
25. (Fencing) A movement executed with
the saber or foil; as, tierce point.
☞ The word point is a general term, much used in the
sciences, particularly in mathematics, mechanics, perspective, and
physics, but generally either in the geometrical sense, or in that of
degree, or condition of change, and with some accompanying descriptive
or qualifying term, under which, in the vocabulary, the specific uses
are explained; as, boiling point, carbon point, dry
point, freezing point, melting point, vanishing
At all points, in every particular,
completely; perfectly. Shak. -- At
point, In point, At,
In, or On, the point, as near
as can be; on the verge; about (see About,
prep., 6); as, at the point of death; he was
on the point of speaking. "In point to fall down."
Chaucer. "Caius Sidius Geta, at point to have been
taken, recovered himself so valiantly as brought day on his side."
Milton. -- Dead point. (Mach.)
Same as Dead center, under Dead. -- Far
point (Med.), in ophthalmology, the farthest
point at which objects are seen distinctly. In normal eyes the nearest
point at which objects are seen distinctly; either with the two eyes
together (binocular near point), or with each eye separately
(monocular near point). -- Nine points of the
law, all but the tenth point; the greater weight of
authority. -- On the point. See At
point, above. -- Point lace, lace
wrought with the needle, as distinguished from that made on the
pillow. -- Point net, a machine-made lace
imitating a kind of Brussels lace (Brussels ground). --
Point of concurrence (Geom.), a point
common to two lines, but not a point of tangency or of intersection,
as, for instance, that in which a cycloid meets its base. --
Point of contrary flexure, a point at which a
curve changes its direction of curvature, or at which its convexity
and concavity change sides. -- Point of order,
in parliamentary practice, a question of order or propriety under
the rules. -- Point of sight (Persp.),
in a perspective drawing, the point assumed as that occupied by
the eye of the spectator. -- Point of view,
the relative position from which anything is seen or any subject
is considered. -- Points of the compass
(Naut.), the thirty-two points of division of the compass
card in the mariner's compass; the corresponding points by which the
circle of the horizon is supposed to be divided, of which the four
marking the directions of east, west, north, and south, are called
cardinal points, and the rest are named from their respective
directions, as N. by E., N. N. E., N. E. by N., N. E., etc. See
Illust. under Compass. -- Point
paper, paper pricked through so as to form a stencil for
transferring a design. -- Point system of type.
See under Type. -- Singular point
(Geom.), a point of a curve which possesses some property
not possessed by points in general on the curve, as a cusp, a point of
inflection, a node, etc. -- To carry one's
point, to accomplish one's object, as in a
controversy. -- To make a point of, to
attach special importance to. -- To make, or
gain, a point, accomplish that
which was proposed; also, to make advance by a step, grade, or
position. -- To mark, or
score, a point, as in
billiards, cricket, etc., to note down, or to make, a successful hit,
run, etc. -- To strain a point, to go
beyond the proper limit or rule; to stretch one's authority or
conscience. -- Vowel point, in Hebrew, and
certain other Eastern and ancient languages, a mark placed above or
below the consonant, or attached to it, representing the vowel, or
vocal sound, which precedes or follows the consonant.