Points and Punctuation

By Mark Nichol - 4 minute read

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Point and words and compounds containing that root, as well as terms with the element punct- and some similar (and not so similar forms), are all cognate, deriving from the Latin verb pungere, meaning “prick” or “stab.” Such words are listed and defined in this post.

appoint: officially fix or set, or assign or name, or equip or furnish as appropriate; an appointee is a person assigned to an office or position, and an appointment is such an assignment, or an office or position itself, or an arranged meeting (or equipment or furnishings collectively); someone who is self-appointed has taken it upon himself or herself to occupy a literal or (usually) figurative position of authority
ballpoint: a type of pen with a point consisting of a small rotating metal point from which ink is transferred to a surface on contact; usually called a ballpoint pen
bluepoint: a type of oyster
cashpoint: British English term for an ATM
checkpoint: a location, generally at a border or entrance, at which entry is monitored
colorpoint: a color pattern on a domestic cat consisting of a light-colored body with darker features
compunction: misgiving, anxiety as a result of feelings of guilt, or distress about anticipation of an event or outcome
contrapuntal: adjectival form of counterpoint (see next entry)
counterpoint: something that complements or contrasts with something else, the use of a combining or contrasting element in a work of art, or a melody independent of a given melody; as a verb, arrange or compose in counterpoint, or set in contrast
dew point: the temperature at which vapor condenses
disappoint: fail or frustrate; disappointment is the quality of failure or frustration, or someone who or something that causes such feelings
drypoint: an engraving made without fluid, or a print made from such an engraving
embonpoint: plumpness
end point: the point of completion of a process or stage; as endpoint, a point or value marking the end of a line segment, an interval, or a ray
expunge: mark for deletion, or destroy, eliminate, or obliterate
eyepoint: the position of placement of an eye in relation to an optical instrument being used
flashpoint: the lowest temperature at which vapors produced by a volatile combustible substance will ignite when exposed to flame, or a point at which something suddenly is created or takes place or someone takes action
goldpoint: the temperature equivalent to the melting point of gold
gunpoint: the muzzle of a gun (used in the expression “at gunpoint,” meaning “having a gun pointed at one”)
interpoint: a system of embossing braille on both sides of a paper
interpunction: see punctuation
knifepoint: the point of a knife blade (used in the expression “at knifepoint,” meaning “having a knife pointed at one”)
midpoint: the halfway point in a journey, a race, or a process
needlepoint: embroidery on a base of canvas, or lace on a base of paper, accomplished with a needle; also a verb describing the action of producing embroidery or lace
outpoint: outscore, or sail closer to the wind than another vessel
pen point: a metal attachment used for drawing or writing with ink
pink: perforate ornamentally or cut a saw-toothed edge on, or pierce or stab, or figuratively wound with speech (other senses of pink are unrelated)
pinpoint: a very small or insignificant thing, or a small or sharp point such as the point of a pin; as a verb, precisely aim, locate, or identify, or highlight
poignant: emotionally cutting, piercing, or touching, or apt or stimulating, or, in the context of smell, pervasive
point: a detail or essential point, the purpose or significance of something, a particular place or position or a geometric element marking a position, an exact moment or interval, a degree, stage, or step, a projecting part or marking, a unit for measuring or tallying, a compass position, any of various punctuation marks or other small marks, a short musical phrase, the head of a bow used with a stringed instrument, a small military detachment ahead of or behind an advance or rear guard or the foremost member of a military patrol, one of various positions of a player in team sports, or the credit or goodwill created by making a good impression; as a verb, sharpen or give emphasis, punctuate or mark with diacritics, direct attention to or indicate direction or position (as with a finger), turn to a particular direction, or indicate a fact or probability
point blank: at close range
point break: the point at which a wave breaks as it makes contact with a point of land
point man: the foremost member of a military patrol, or an advocate, spokesperson, representative, or person at the forefront of a movement or organization
point of view: a perspective or position for consideration or evaluation of something
pointe: in ballet, a position of balance on the tip of a toe (sometimes referred to as “en pointe”)
pointed: having a point, conspicuous, pertinent, or aimed at an individual or a group
pointer: a stick used to direct an audience’s attention to a particular part of a display; a hint or suggestion; any of various breeds of hunting dogs; or a type of computer memory address
pointillism: the painting technique of applying small dots or strokes of color to a surface that blend together from a distance; a practitioner of this technique is a pointillist
pointless: ineffective or senseless
pointy: coming to a point, or having various points that stick out
pour point: the lowest temperature at which a substance flows
punch: a tool for piercing or for applying pressure to a small area, or a hole or notch produced by a punch; a blow or the action of punching, or energy or forcefulness; strike or prod, or perforate or apply pressure as with a punch, or give emphasis or move forcefully; the sense of “fruit drink” is unrelated
punctate: marked with dots, points, or small spots, or an area so marked
punctation: marking of an area with dots, points, or small spots
punctilio: a detail in conducting a ceremony or observing a code
punction: a piercing
punctual: on time; the quality of being on time is punctuality
punctuate: mark or divide with punctuation marks such as commas and periods, divide into or interrupt at intervals, or accentuate or emphasize
punctuation: symbols used to separate and clarify meaning of units of written content, or the act of using such marks, or something that accentuates or emphasizes
punctulate: marked with small spots
puncturation: the act, process, or state of being punctured, or arrangement or form of punctures
puncture: an act of physically piercing or figuratively damaging, a hole or wound made by piercing, or a small depression; as a verb, pierce or deflate
pungent: painful or pointed, or having an intense flavor or odor, or creating an irritating sensation
silverpoint: a drawing technique using silver on a specially prepared surface
standpoint: see “point of view”
touchpoint: a point of contact between a buyer and a seller
viewpoint: see “point of view”
waypoint: a location on a route

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