1. <unit, text> (Sometimes abbreviated "pt") The unit of length used in typography to specify text character height, rule width, and other small measurements.

There are six slightly different definitions: Truchet point, Didot point, ATA point, TeX point, Postscript point, and IN point.

In Europe, the most commonly used is Didot and in the US, the formerly standard ATA point has essentially been replaced by the PostScript point due to the demise of traditional typesetting systems and rise of desktop computer based systems running software such as QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Pagemaker.

There are 20 twips in a point and 12 points in a pica (known as a "Cicero" in the Didot system).

Different point systems.

2. <computer hardware> To move a pointing device so that the on-screen pointer is positioned over a certain object on the screen such as a button in a graphical user interface. In most window systems it is then necessary to click a (physical) button on the pointing device to activate or select the object. In some systems, just pointing to an object is known as "mouse-over" event which may cause some help text (called a "tool tip" in Windows) to be displayed.

(01 Jun 2001)

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1. That which pricks or pierces; the sharp end of anything, especially. 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 shore line.

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.

<geometry> Specifically: 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. Davies)

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 especially. 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." . "Creeping on from point to point." . "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, etc. "He told him, point for point, in short and plain." (Chaucer) "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; especially, the proposition to be established; as, the point of an anecdote. "Here lies the point." "They will hardly prove his point." (Arbuthnot)

11. A small matter; a trifle; a least consideration; a punctilio. "This fellow doth not stand upon points." (Shak) "[He] cared not for God or man a point." (Spenser)

12. 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. <astronomy> 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. One of the several different parts of the escutcheon. See Escutcheon.

15. 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. A short piece of cordage used in reefing sails. See Reef point, under Reef.

16. A a string or lace used to tie together certain parts of the dress.

17. Lace wrought the needle; as, point de Venise; Brussels point. See Point lace, below.

18. A switch.

19. An item of private information; a hint; a tip; a pointer.

20. 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. 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. A movement executed with the saber or foil; as, tierce point.

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, In, or On, the point, as near as can be; on the verge; about (see About, 6); as, at the point of death; he was on the point of speaking. "In point to fall down." . "Caius Sidius Geta, at point to have been taken, recovered himself so valiantly as brought day on his side." . Dead point.

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 controversy. To make a point of, to attach special importance to. To make, or gain, a point, accomplish that which was proposed; also, to make advance by a step, grade, or position. To mark, or score, a point, as in billiards, cricket, etc, to note down, or to make, a successful hit, run, etc. To strain a point, to go beyond the proper limit or rule; to stretch one's authority or conscience. Vowel point, in 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.

Origin: F. Point, and probably also pointe, L. Punctum, puncta, fr. Pungere, punctum, to prick. See Pungent, and cf. Puncto, Puncture.

1. To direct the point of something, as of a finger, for the purpose of designating an object, and attracting attention to it; with at. "Now must the world point at poor Katharine." (Shak) "Point at the tattered coat and ragged shoe." (Dryden)

2. To indicate the presence of game by fixed and steady look, as certain hunting dogs do. "He treads with caution, and he points with fear." (Gay)

3. <medicine> To approximate to the surface; to head; said of an abscess. To point at, to treat with scorn or contempt by pointing or directing attention to. To point well, to sail close to the wind; said of a vessel.

(01 Mar 1998)

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