Meaning of POINT in English

I. point 1 S1 W1 /pɔɪnt/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ point , ↑ pointer , ↑ pointlessness ; adjective : ↑ pointed , ↑ pointy , ↑ pointless ; adverb : ↑ pointlessly , ↑ pointedly ; verb : ↑ point ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Origin: Partly from Old French point 'small hole or spot, point in time or space' , from Latin punctum , from pungere ( ⇨ ↑ pungent ); partly from Old French pointe 'sharp end' , from Vulgar Latin puncta , from Latin pungere ]

1 . IDEA [countable] a single fact, idea, or opinion that is part of an argument or discussion:

That’s a very interesting point.

She made some extremely good points.

There are three important points we must bear in mind.

This brings me to my next point.

point about

I agree with John’s point about keeping the costs down.

2 . MAIN MEANING/IDEA the point the most important fact or idea:

The point is, at least we’re all safely back home.

Nobody knows exactly how it works. That’s the whole point.

He may not have stolen the money himself, but that’s not the point.

I wish you’d get to the point (=talk about the most important thing) .

I’ll come straight to the point (=talk about the most important thing first) .

I need to find out who killed Alf, and more to the point (=what is more important) I need to do it before anyone else gets killed.

We all like him, but that’s beside the point (=not the most important thing) .

I think you’ve missed the point (=you have not understood the most important thing) .

3 . PURPOSE [uncountable] the purpose or aim of something:

I suppose we could save one or two of the trees, but what’s the point?

point of

What’s the point of this meeting anyway?

The whole point of this legislation is to protect children.

There’s no point in worrying.

We’re going to lose anyway, so I can’t see the point of playing.

I didn’t see the point in moving to London.

4 . PLACE [countable] a particular place or position:

The accident happened at the point where the A15 joins the M1.

No cars are allowed beyond this point.

a border crossing point

Cairo is a convenient departure point for tours.

Dover is a point of entry into Britain.

5 . IN TIME/DEVELOPMENT [countable] an exact moment, time, or stage in the development of something:

I had reached a point in my career where I needed to decide which way to go.

She had got to the point where she felt that she could not take any more.

Their win over old rivals Manchester United was the high point (=best part) in their season.

Sales reached a low point in 1996.

We will take last week’s riots as a starting point for our discussion.

At one point, I thought he was going to burst into tears.

Maybe at this point we should move onto some of the practical experiments.

At that point, I was still living at home and had no job.

You will probably sell the car at some point in the future.

It is impossible to give a definite answer at this point in time.

Some children are bullied to the point of suicide (=until they reach this stage) .

6 . QUALITY/FEATURE [countable usually plural] a particular quality or feature that something or someone has

sb’s/sth’s good/bad points

Sometimes she had to remind herself of his good points.

point of

They would spend hours discussing the finer points (=small details about qualities and features) of various cars.

The low price is one of its main selling points (=features that will help to sell it) .

Driving was not one of Baxter’s strong points.

One of the club’s plus points is that it is central.

There were some weak points in his argument.

7 . GAMES/SPORT [countable] one of the marks or numbers that shows your score in a game or sport:

He is three points behind the leader.

Leeds United are now six points clear at the top of the table.

She had to win this point.

You get three points for a win and one point for a draw.

You lose a point if you do not complete the puzzle on time.

The fight went the full fifteen rounds, and in the end the American won on points.

8 .

SHARP END [countable] a sharp end of something:

the sharp point of a spear

9 . boiling point/freezing point/melting point etc the temperature at which something boils, freezes, melts etc:

Heat the water until it reaches boiling point.

10 . the point of no return a stage in a process or activity when it becomes impossible to stop it or do something different

reach/pass the point of no return

I was aware that we had passed the point of no return.

11 . point of departure an idea which you use to start a discussion:

He takes the idea of personal freedom as his point of departure.

12 . be on the point of (doing) something to be going to do something very soon:

I was on the point of giving up the search when something caught my eye in the bushes.

The country’s economy is on the point of collapse.

13 . up to a point partly, but not completely:

I agree with you up to a point.

That is true, but only up to a point.

14 . to the point dealing only with the important subject or idea, and not including any unnecessary discussions:

Her comments were brief and to the point.

15 . make a point of doing something to do something deliberately, even when it involves making a special effort:

He made a point of spending Saturdays with his children.

I always make a point of being early.

16 . when/if it comes to the point British English used to talk about what happens when someone is in a difficult situation and has to make a difficult decision:

I’m sure that if it came to the point, he would do what is expected of him.

17 . in point of fact formal used when saying that something is true, although it may seem unlikely:

We were assured that the prisoners were being well treated, when in point of fact they were living in terrible conditions.

18 . not to put too fine a point on it especially British English used when you are saying something in a very direct way:

She’s lying, not to put too fine a point on it.

19 . NUMBERS [countable] a sign (.) used to separate a whole number from any ↑ decimal s that follow it

20 . MEASURE ON A SCALE [countable] a mark or measure on a scale:

The stock market has fallen by over 200 points in the last week.

21 . SMALL SPOT [countable] a very small spot of light or colour:

The stars shone like points of light in the sky.

22 . DIRECTION [countable] one of the marks on a ↑ compass that shows direction:

Soldiers were advancing on us from all points of the compass.

23 . PIECE OF LAND [countable] a long thin piece of land that stretches out into the sea:

We sailed round the point into a small, sheltered bay.

24 . ELECTRICITY [countable] British English a piece of plastic with holes in it which is attached to a wall and to which electrical equipment can be connected:

a telephone point

an electrical point

25 . RAILWAYS points [plural] British English a piece of railway track that can be moved to allow a train to cross over from one track to another:

The train rattled over the points.

⇨ ↑ pointe

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ adjectives

▪ a good point

I think that’s a very good point.

▪ an interesting point

He has made an interesting point.

▪ an important point

That’s an important point to bear in mind.

▪ a serious point

He’s making a joke but there is a serious point there as well.

▪ a valid point

She raised a number of valid points.

▪ a general point

I’d like to make one further general point.

▪ a similar point

Kevin Phillips made a similar point in his 1993 book, ‘Boiling Point’.

▪ the main point

Finally, I will summarise the main points of this chapter.

▪ one final/last point

There is one final point I would like to make.

■ verbs

▪ make a point

He makes the point that predicting behaviour is not easy.

▪ put/get your point across (=make people understand it)

I think we got our point across.

▪ raise a point (=mention it)

I was going to raise that point.

▪ illustrate/demonstrate a point

A simple example will illustrate the point.

▪ prove your/a point (=prove that what you say is right)

He was determined to prove his point.

▪ understand a point

I’m sorry, I don’t understand your point.

▪ see/take/get sb’s point (=understand or agree with it)

OK, I take your point. But it’s not that easy.

▪ have a point (=have made a good point)

Maybe she has a point.

▪ labour the point British English , belabor the point American English (=keep saying something)

I don’t wish to labour the point, but why didn’t you just tell me?

▪ clarify a point (=make it clearer)

Could you clarify a couple of points for me?

■ phrases

▪ point taken (=used to say to someone that you accept what they say)

All right, point taken – I should have asked you first.

▪ the finer points of something (=the small details)

I’m afraid I don’t understand the finer points of the game.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ phrases

▪ the point is (that) ...

The point is that going by bus would be a lot cheaper.

▪ that’s the (whole) point

That’s the point. She didn’t tell us what was going on.

▪ that's not the point

We'd earn a lot of money, but that's not the point.

▪ be beside the point (=be not the most important thing to consider)

He's the best person for the job so his age is beside the point.

▪ more to the point (=what is more important)

When did she leave, and, more to the point, why?

■ verbs

▪ get/come (straight) to the point (=talk about the most important thing immediately)

I haven't got much time so let's get straight to the point.

▪ get the point (=understand it)

He didn’t get the point at first.

▪ miss the point (=not understand it)

I don't know why but Mel always seems to miss the point.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 5)

■ verbs

▪ reach a point

Some couples reach a point where divorce is the only solution.

▪ get to a point

You get to the point where ordinary things like climbing stairs are difficult.

▪ mark a high/low/turning etc point (=be or happen at a particular time in the development of something)

The day of the accident marked a turning point in Kenny’s life.


▪ a high point

Winning the World Championship was the high point of my career.

▪ a low point

She helped me when I was at a low point in my life.

▪ a starting point

The following recipes are a good starting point for making your own bread.

▪ a turning point (=the time when an important change starts, especially an improvement)

A turning point in the history of the republic came in 1358.

▪ crisis point (=the point at which a situation becomes extremely serious)

The tensions within the country have reached crisis point.

▪ breaking point (=a time when someone or something can no longer deal with something)

Our resources are stretched to breaking point.

▪ bursting point (=a time when something is completely full)

The hospital was full to bursting point.

▪ saturation point (=a time when no more can be added to something)

Is the market for computer games reaching saturation point?

■ phrases

▪ at one point (=at a time in the past)

At one point I was thinking of studying physics.

▪ at some point

Over half the population suffers from back pain at some point in their lives.

▪ at this/that point

I’m not prepared at this point to make any decision.

▪ at this/that point in time formal (=used especially in official speeches, announcements etc)

It would be wrong to comment at this point in time.

▪ to the point of something (=until a stage is reached or is near)

British industry was driven to the point of collapse.

▪ there comes a point when ...

There comes a point where you have to accept defeat.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 6)

■ adjectives

▪ good points

Every system has its good points and its drawbacks.

▪ bad points

What would you say are Natalie’s bad points?

▪ sb’s strong point (=something that they are good at)

Mathematics was never my strong point.

▪ sb’s weak point (=something that they are not good at)

Be honest about assessing your weak points.

▪ a plus point British English (=an advantage or good feature)

The airline’s outstanding safety record is a major plus point.

▪ a positive point

Underfloor heating has a lot of positive points.

▪ a negative point

A few negative points should be mentioned.

▪ a selling point (=a quality or feature that makes people want to buy something)

The house's main selling point is its beautiful garden.

▪ the finer points of something (=small details about the qualities or features of something)

I'm afraid I'm not interested in the finer points of cars.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 7)

■ verbs

▪ score a point (=especially in games such as football, baseball, cricket etc)

The Kiwis scored 206 points in their three matches.

▪ win a point (=especially in games such as tennis, where the ball goes back and forth between competitors)

I didn't win a single point in my first few games.

▪ get a point informal (=score a point)

Our aim is to get as many points as possible.

▪ lose a point

If he’s got the answer wrong, he loses 250 points.

▪ give/award somebody a point

I was awarded 17 points out of 20.

■ phrases

▪ win/lose by 5/10 etc points

We only lost by two points.

▪ win/lose on points (=win or lose a fight because of the judges’ decision)

He was knocked down twice, before losing on points.

▪ be level on points BrE:

The teams finished level on points.

II. point 2 S2 W2 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ point , ↑ pointer , ↑ pointlessness ; adjective : ↑ pointed , ↑ pointy , ↑ pointless ; adverb : ↑ pointlessly , ↑ pointedly ; verb : ↑ point ]

1 . SHOW SOMETHING WITH YOUR FINGER [intransitive and transitive] to show something to someone by holding up one of your fingers or a thin object towards it:

‘Look!’ she said and pointed.

point at

I could see him pointing at me and telling the other guests what I had said.

point to/towards

She was pointing to a small boat that was approaching the shore.

point with

The driver pointed with his whip.

She pointed in the direction of the car park.

He stood up and pointed his finger at me.

2 . AIM SOMETHING [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to hold something so that it is aimed towards a person or thing

point something at somebody/something

He stood up and pointed his gun at the prisoner.

She produced a camera and pointed it at me.

3 . FACE IN ONE DIRECTION [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to face or be aimed in a particular direction:

The arrow always points north.

There were flashlights all around us, pointing in all directions.

point at

There were TV cameras pointing at us.

point to/towards

The hands of the clock pointed to a quarter past one.

We found footprints pointing towards the back door.

4 . SHOW SOMEBODY WHERE TO GO [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to show someone which direction they should go in:

She pointed me towards an armchair.

Could you point me in the direction of the bathroom, please?

5 . SUGGEST WHAT SOMEBODY SHOULD DO [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to suggest what someone should do:

My teachers were all pointing me towards university.

A financial adviser should be able to point you in the right direction.

6 . SUGGEST THAT SOMETHING IS TRUE [intransitive always + adverb/preposition] to suggest that something is true:

Everything seemed to point in one direction.

point to/towards

All the evidence pointed towards Blake as the murderer.

Everything points to her having died from a drugs overdose.

7 . WALLS/BUILDINGS [transitive] British English to put new ↑ cement between the bricks of a wall

8 . point your toes to stretch the ends of your feet downwards

9 . point the/a finger at somebody to blame someone or say that they have done something wrong:

I knew that they would point the finger at me.

I don’t want to point a finger of blame at anyone.

10 . point the way

a) to show the direction that something is in

point the way to/towards

An old-fashioned signpost pointed the way to the restaurant.

b) to show how something could change or develop successfully

point the way forward/forwards

This report points the way forward for the water industry.

point the way to/towards

a government paper which points the way towards reform

point something ↔ out phrasal verb

1 . to tell someone something that they did not already know or had not thought about:

He was always very keen to point out my mistakes.

The murder was obviously well planned, as the inspector had pointed out.

point out that

Some economists have pointed out that low inflation is not necessarily a good thing.

point something out to somebody

Thank you for pointing this out to me.

2 . to show something to someone by pointing at it:

Luke pointed out two large birds by the water’s edge.

point somebody/something out to somebody

I’ll point him out to you if we see him.

point to something phrasal verb

to mention something because you think it is important:

Many politicians have pointed to the need for a written constitution.

point something ↔ up phrasal verb formal

to make something seem more important or more noticeable:

These cases point up the complete incompetence of some government departments.

• • •


▪ lead to take a person or animal somewhere by going in front of them while they follow, or by pulling them gently:

Rachel led Jo into the kitchen.


She was leading a horse, which seemed to have a bad leg.

▪ take to take someone somewhere with you when you have the transport, know the way, are paying etc:

I took her to see a film.


Matt’s taking me in his car.

▪ guide to take someone through or to a place you know, showing them the way:

Ali guided us through the streets to his house on the edge of the town.

▪ show to take someone to a place such as a table in a restaurant or a hotel room and leave them there:

A waitress showed us to our table.


We were shown to our seats near the front of the theatre.

▪ point to show someone which direction to go using your hand or a sign:

The sign back there pointed this way.

▪ escort to take someone somewhere, protecting them, guarding them, or showing them the way:

He was escorted from the court by police.


The President’s car will be escorted by a military convoy.

▪ usher to show someone the way to a room or building nearby, usually as part of your job:

His housekeeper ushered us into the living room.

▪ shepherd to carefully take someone somewhere – used especially about a group of people:

The police shepherded thousands of people to safety in the cathedral.

▪ direct formal to tell someone where to go or how to get somewhere:

He directed us to a cafe a few blocks away.


Can you direct me to the station?

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.