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[poin-ter] /ˈpɔɪn tər/
a person or thing that points.
a long, tapering stick used by teachers, lecturers, etc., in pointing things out on a map, blackboard, or the like.
the hand on a watch dial, clock face, scale, etc.
Military. the member of an artillery crew who aims the weapon.
one of a breed of short-haired hunting dogs trained to point game.
a piece of advice, especially on how to succeed in a specific area:
The food expert gave some good pointers on making better salads.
Computers. an identifier giving the location in storage of something of interest, as a data item, table, or subroutine.
Pointers, Astronomy. the two outer stars of the Big Dipper that lie on a line that passes very near Polaris and are used for finding it.
1490-1500; point + -er1
6. tip, hint, suggestion, caution. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pointer
  • If they make a three-pointer, they are much more likely to try another one than if they had missed.
  • All it requires are a laser pointer, some polarizing film and a few household objects.
  • The remaining argument would then be if there is a counter-thrust on the pointer or not.
  • The free end culminated in a pointer that moved up and down a scale indicating the expected tide.
  • Learn about the physics behind the three pointer, why dribbling is difficult, and what goes into the perfect dunk.
  • Look at the mouse pointer hovered over that blue button.
  • Applications are sluggish to load, and the mouse pointer often trails well behind your hand.
  • Voters are also being given the option of using a pointer tool to make their selections instead of using their fingers.
  • More often than not, the apparently token effort to disguise a borrowing functions as a pointer to it.
  • The small cogged wheel counted decimal places, clicking each time the pointer made a revolution.
British Dictionary definitions for pointer


a person or thing that points
an indicator on a measuring instrument
a long rod or cane used by a lecturer to point to parts of a map, blackboard, etc
one of a breed of large swift smooth-coated dogs, usually white with black, liver, or lemon markings: when on shooting expeditions it points to the bird with its nose, body, and tail in a straight line
a helpful piece of information or advice
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pointer

mid-14c., "a tiler" (early 13c. as a surname), agent noun from point (v.). From c.1500 as "maker of needlepoint lace." From 1570s as "thing that points;" meaning "dog that stands rigid in the presence of game, facing the quarry" is recorded from 1717. Meaning "item of advice" first recorded 1883.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pointer



An item of advice or instruction: She gave me a few pointers about how to say it (1883+)

Related Terms


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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pointer in Technology

1. An address, from the point of view of a programming language. A pointer may be typed, with its type indicating the type of data to which it points.
The terms "pointer" and "reference" are generally interchangable although particular programming languages often differentiate these two in subtle ways. For example, Perl always calls them references, never pointers. Conversely, in C, "pointer" is used, although "a reference" is often used to denote the concept that a pointer implements.
Anthony Hoare once said:
Pointers are like jumps, leading wildly from one part of the data structure to another. Their introduction into high-level languages has been a step backward from which we may never recover.
[C.A.R.Hoare "Hints on Programming Language Design", 1973, Prentice-Hall collection of essays and papers by Tony Hoare].
2. (Or "mouse pointer") An icon, usually a small arrow, that moves on the screen in response to movement of a pointing device, typically a mouse. The pointer shows the user which object on the screen will be selected etc. when a mouse button is clicked.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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