n. & v.
n. 1 a a small spot, speck, or mark. b such a mark written or printed as part of an i or j, as a diacritical mark, as one of a series of marks to signify omission, or as a full stop. c a decimal point. 2 Mus. a dot used to denote the lengthening of a note or rest, or to indicate staccato. 3 the shorter signal of the two used in Morse code (cf. DASH n. 6). 4 a tiny or apparently tiny object (a dot on the horizon).
v.tr. (dotted, dotting) 1 a mark with a dot or dots. b place a dot over (a letter). 2 Mus. mark (a note or rest) to show that the time value is increased by half. 3 (often foll. by about) scatter like dots. 4 partly cover as with dots (a sea dotted with ships). 5 sl. hit (dotted him one in the eye). dot the i's and cross the t's colloq. 1 be minutely accurate, emphasize details. 2 add the final touches to a task, exercise, etc. dot matrix printer Computing a printer with characters formed from dots printed by configurations of the tips of small wires. dotted line a line of dots on a document, esp. to show a place left for a signature. on the dot exactly on time. the year dot Brit. colloq. far in the past. dotter n.
[ OE dott head of a boil, perh. infl. by Du. dot knot ]