Definition for POINT

POINT, n. [Fr. from poinct; Sp. and It. punto, punta; W. pwnc; from L. punctum, from pungo, to prick, properly to thrust, pret. pepugi, showing that n is not radical. Hence it accords with Norm. pouchon, a puncheon, Fr. poinçon, Eng. to punch, and with poke, poker, Gr. πηγνυω, &c.]

  1. The sharp end of any instrument or body; as, the point of a knife, of a sword, or of a thorn.
  2. A string with a tag; as, a silken point. – Shak.
  3. A small cape, headland or promontory; a tract of land extending into the sea, a lake or river, beyond the line of the shore, and becoming narrow at the end; as, point Judith; Montauk point. It is smaller than a cape.
  4. The sting of an epigram; a lively turn of thought or expression that strikes with force and agreeable surprise. With periods, points and tropes he slurs his crimes. – Dryden.
  5. An indivisible part of time or space. We say, a point of time, a point of space. – Locke. Davies.
  6. A small space; as, a small point of land. – Prior.
  7. Punctilio; nicety; exactness of ceremony; as, points of precedence.
  8. Place near, next or continuous to; verge; eve. He is on the point of departure, or at the point of death.
  9. Exact place. He left off at the point where he began.
  10. Degree; state of elevation, depression or extension; as, he has reached an extraordinary point of excellence. He has fallen to the lowest point of degradation.
  11. A character used to mark the divisions of writing, or the pauses to be observed in reading or speaking; as the comma, semicolon, colon, and period. The period is called a full stop, as it marks the close of a sentence.
  12. A spot; a part of a surface divided by spots or lines; as, the ace or sise point.
  13. In geometry, that which has neither parts nor magnitude. – Euclid. A point is that which has position but not magnitude. – Playfair. A point is a limit terminating a line. – Legendre.
  14. In music, a mark or note anciently used to distinguish tones or sounds. Hence, simple counterpoint is when a note of the lower part answers exactly to that of the upper; and figurative counterpoint, is when a note is syncopated and one of the parts makes several notes or inflections of the voice while the other holds on one. – Encyc.
  15. In modern music, a dot placed by a note to raise its value or prolong its time by one half, so as to make a semibreve equal to three minims; a minim equal to three quavers, &c.
  16. In astronomy, a division of the great circles of the horizon, and of the mariner's compass. The four cardinal points, are the east, west, north and south. On the space between two of these points, making a quadrant or quarter of a circle, the compass is marked with subordinate divisions, the whole number being thirty-two points.
  17. In astronomy, a certain place marked in the heavens, or distinguished for its importance in astronomical calculations. The zenith and nadir are called vertical points; the nodes are the points where the orbits of the planets intersect the plane of the ecliptic; the places where the equator and ecliptic intersect are called equinoctial points; the points of the ecliptic at which the departure of the sun from the equator, north and south, is terminated, are called solstitial points.
  18. In perspective, a certain pole or place with regard to the perspective plane. – Encyc.
  19. In manufactories, a lace or work wrought by the needle; as, point le Venice, point de Genoa, &c. Sometimes the word is used for lace woven with bobbins. Point devise is used for needle work, or for nice work.
  20. The place to which any thing is directed, or the direction in which an object is presented to the eye. We say, in this point of view an object appears to advantage. In this or that point of view the evidence is important.
  21. Particular; single thing or subject. In what point do we differ? All points of controversy between the parties are adjusted. We say, in point of antiquity, in point of fact, in point of excellence. The letter in every point is admirable. The treaty is executed in every point.
  22. Aim; purpose; thing to be reached or accomplished; as, to gain one's point.
  23. The act of aiming or striking. What a point your falcon made. – Shak.
  24. A single position; a single assertion; a single part of a complicated question or of a whole. These arguments are not sufficient to prove the point. Strange point and new! / Doctrine which we would know whence learned. – Milton.
  25. A note or tune. Turning your tongue divine / To a loud trumpet, and a point of war. – Shak.
  26. In heraldry, points are the several different parts of the escutcheon, denoting the local positions of figures. – Encyc.
  27. In electricity, the acute termination of a body which facilitates the passage of the fluid to or from the body. – Encyc.
  28. In gunnery, point-blank denotes the shot of a gun leveled horizontally. The point-blank range, is the extent of the apparent right line of a ball discharged. In shooting point-blank, the ball is supposed to move directly to the object, without a curve. Hence adverbially, the word is equivalent to directly.
  29. In marine language, points are flat pieces of braided cordage, tapering from the middle toward each end; used in reeling the courses and top-sails of square-rigged vessels. – Mar. Dict. Point de vise. [Fr.] Exactly in the point of view. – Shak. Vowel-points, in the Hebrew and other Eastern languages, are certain marks placed above or below the consonants, or attached to them, as in the Ethiopic, representing the vocal sounds or vowels, which precede or follow the articulations. The point, the subject; the main question; the precise thing to be considered, determined or accomplished. This argument may be true, but it is not to the point.

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