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A connect-the-dots puzzle, partially completed.


connect the dots (third-person singular simple present connects the dots, present participle connecting the dots, simple past and past participle connected the dots)

  1. (literally) To attempt to complete a puzzle in which dots on a paper must be connected in a specific order so that the joining lines form a picture.
    • 1991, Roberta Collier, The Little Animal Follow-The-Dots Coloring Book, Courier Corporation (→ISBN), page 3:
      To connect the dots, use a pen or pencil and draw a line from dot 1 to dot 2, from dot 2 to dot 3 and so on until all the dots are connected. You can try to guess what kind of animal is shown in the picture before you connect the dots.
  2. (by extension) To make connections in one's mind, arriving at a more holistic understanding of a situation.
    • 2003 September 25, Thomas L. Friedman, “Connect The Dots”, in New York Times[1]:
      If only the Bush team connected the dots, it would see what a nutty war on terrorism it is fighting, explains Mr. Prestowitz.

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