n. & v.
n. 1 the sharp or tapered end of a tool, weapon, pencil, etc. 2 a tip or extreme end. 3 that which in geometry has position but not magnitude, e.g. the intersection of two lines. 4 a particular place or position (Bombay and points east; point of contact). 5 a a precise or particular moment (at the point of death). b the critical or decisive moment (when it came to the point, he refused). 6 a very small mark on a surface. 7 a a dot or other punctuation mark, esp. = full point = FULL(1). b a dot or small stroke used in Semitic languages to indicate vowels or distinguish consonants. 8 = decimal point. 9 a stage or degree in progress or increase (abrupt to the point of rudeness; at that point we gave up). 10 a level of temperature at which a change of state occurs (freezing-point). 11 a single item; a detail or particular (we differ on these points; it is a point of principle). 12 a a unit of scoring in games or of measuring value etc. b an advantage or success in less quantifiable contexts such as an argument or discussion. c a unit of weight (2 mg) for diamonds. d a unit (of varying value) in quoting the price of stocks etc. 13 a (usu. prec. by the) the significant or essential thing; what is actually intended or under discussion (that was the point of the question). b (usu. with neg. or interrog.; often foll. by in) sense or purpose; advantage or value (saw no point in staying). c (usu. prec. by the) a salient feature of a story, joke, remark, etc. (don't see the point). 14 a distinctive feature or characteristic (it has its points; tact is not his good point). 15 pungency, effectiveness (their comments lacked point). 16 a each of 32 directions marked at equal distances round a compass. b the corresponding direction towards the horizon. 17 (usu. in pl.) Brit. a junction of two railway lines, with a pair of linked tapering rails that can be moved laterally to allow a train to pass from one line to the other. 18 Brit. = power point. 19 (usu. in pl.) each of a set of electrical contacts in the distributor of a motor vehicle. 20 Cricket a a fielder on the off side near the batsman. b this position. 21 the tip of the toe in ballet. 22 a promontory. 23 the prong of a deer's antler. 24 the extremities of a dog, horse, etc. 25 Printing a unit of measurement for type bodies (in the UK and US 0.0138 in., in Europe 0.0148 in.). 26 Hunting a a spot to which a straight run is made. b such a run. 27 Heraldry any of nine particular positions on a shield used for specifying the position of charges etc. 28 Boxing the tip of the chin as a spot for a knockout blow. 29 Mil. a small leading party of an advanced guard. 30 hist. a tagged lace for lacing a bodice, attaching a hose to a doublet, etc. 31 Naut. a short piece of cord at the lower edge of a sail for tying up a reef. 32 the act or position of a dog in pointing.
v. 1 (usu. foll. by to, at) a tr. direct or aim (a finger, weapon, etc.). b intr. direct attention in a certain direction (pointed to the house across the road). 2 intr. (foll. by at, towards) a aim or be directed to. b tend towards. 3 intr. (foll. by to) indicate; be evidence of (it all points to murder). 4 tr. give point or force to (words or actions). 5 tr. fill in or repair the joints of (brickwork) with smoothly finished mortar or cement. 6 tr. a punctuate. b insert points in (written Hebrew etc.). c mark (Psalms etc.) with signs for chanting. 7 tr. sharpen (a pencil, tool, etc.). 8 tr. (also absol.) (of a dog) indicate the presence of (game) by acting as pointer. at all points in every part or respect. at the point of (often foll. by verbal noun) on the verge of; about to do (the action specified). beside the point irrelevant or irrelevantly. case in point an instance that is relevant or (prec. by the) under consideration. have a point be correct or effective in one's contention. in point apposite, relevant. in point of fact see FACT. make (or prove) a (or one's) point establish a proposition; prove one's contention. make a point of (often foll. by verbal noun) insist on; treat or regard as essential. nine points nine tenths, i.e. nearly the whole (esp. possession is nine points of the law). on (or upon) the point of (foll. by verbal noun) about to do (the action specified). point-duty the positioning of a police officer or traffic warden at a crossroad or other point to control traffic. point lace thread lace made wholly with a needle. point of honour an action or circumstance that affects one's reputation. point of no return a point in a journey or enterprise at which it becomes essential or more practical to continue to the end. point of order a query in a debate etc. as to whether correct procedure is being followed. point-of-sale (usu. attrib.) denoting publicity etc. associated with the place at which goods are retailed. point of view 1 a position from which a thing is viewed. 2 a particular way of considering a matter. point out (often foll. by that + clause) indicate, show; draw attention to. point-to-point a steeplechase over a marked course for horses used regularly in hunting. point up emphasize; show as important. score points off get the better of in an argument etc. take a person's point concede that a person has made a valid contention. to the point relevant or relevantly. up to a point to some extent but not completely. win on points Boxing win by scoring more points, not by a knockout.
[ ME f. OF point, pointer f. L punctum f. pungere punct- prick ]