The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Point \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
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 produced.
6. An indivisible portion of time; a moment; an instant;
hence, the verge.
When time's first point begun
Made he all souls. --Sir J.
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 conclusion.
And there a point, for ended is my tale. --Chaucer.
Commas and points they set exactly right. --Pope.
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. --Chaucer.
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,
He told him, point for point, in short and plain.
In point of religion and in point of honor. --Bacon.
Shalt thou dispute
With Him the points of liberty ? --Milton.
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. --Arbuthnot.
11. A small matter; a trifle; a least consideration; a
This fellow doth not stand upon points. --Shak.
[He] cared not for God or man a point. --Spenser.
12. (Mus.) A dot or mark used to designate certain tones or
(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 Nodal.
14. (Her.) One of the several different parts of the
escutcheon. See Escutcheon.
(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 Reef.
16. (Anc. Costume) A a string or lace used to tie together
certain parts of the dress. --Sir W. Scott.
17. Lace wrought the needle; as, point de Venise; Brussels
point. See Point lace, below.
18. pl. (Railways) A switch. [Eng.]
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 Pointer.
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 Type.
23. A tyne or snag of an antler.
24. One of the spaces on a backgammon board.
25. (Fencing) A movement executed with the saber or foil; as,
26. (Med.) A pointed piece of quill or bone covered at one
end with vaccine matter; -- called also vaccine point.
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]
27. One of the raised dots used in certain systems of
printing and writing for the blind. The first practical
system was that devised by Louis Braille in 1829, and
still used in Europe (see Braille). Two modifications
of this are current in the United States:
New York point founded on three bases of equidistant points
arranged in two lines (viz., : :: :::), and a later
American Braille, embodying the Braille base (:::) and the
New-York-point principle of using the characters of few
points for the commonest letters.
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]
28. In technical senses:
(a) In various games, a position of a certain player, or,
by extension, the player himself; as: (1) (Lacrosse &
Ice Hockey) The position of the player of each side
who stands a short distance in front of the goal
keeper; also, the player himself. (2) (Baseball)
(pl.) The position of the pitcher and catcher.
(b) (Hunting) A spot to which a straight run is made;
hence, a straight run from point to point; a
cross-country run. [Colloq. Oxf. E. D.]
(c) (Falconry) The perpendicular rising of a hawk over
the place where its prey has gone into cover.
(d) Act of pointing, as of the foot downward in certain
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]
Note: 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 point, etc.
At all points, in every particular, completely; perfectly.
At point, In point, At the point, In the point, 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."
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
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
To make a point of, to attach special importance to.
To make a point, or To gain a point, accomplish that
which was proposed; also, to make advance by a step,
grade, or position.
To mark a point, or To score a point, as in billiards,
cricket, etc., to note down, or to make, a successful hit,
To strain a point, to go beyond the proper limit or rule;
to stretch one's authority or conscience.
Vowel point, in Arabic, 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.