English edit

Etymology edit

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.) Possibly from the French "en pointe" meaning to be on the tip of the toes in ballet and reflects a higher degree of skill. "On point" also describes a degree of competence and in the military the man "on point" was at the front and most exposed position in a combat military formation, that is, the leading soldier or unit advancing through hostile or unsecured territory. In recent American youth (especially hip hop) culture, the idiom "on point" refers either to someone who possesses abundant and various qualities of competence, leadership or style, or to specific acts which demonstrate such qualities.

Prepositional phrase edit

on point

  1. Excellent; bold; performing well.
    • 2019 June 8, Kitty Empire, “Madonna: Madame X review – a splendidly bizarre return to form”, in The Guardian[1]:
      The last time Madonna was indisputably on point, she had hooked up with French producer Mirwais for Music (2000) and the sensuous possibilities of club culture.
  2. (chiefly US, law, philosophy) Having a direct application to the case or topic under consideration; apposite, relevant. [from 20th c.]
    • 1937, Herdman Motor Co. v. State Bd. of Tax Appeals, 119 N.J.L. 164, 166
      We have no decisions in our state directly on point. With us the problem is one of first impression. None of the cases cited is on point.
    • 1984, Eike-Henner W. Kluge, “Review of Frege and the Philosophy of Mathematics by Michael D. Resnik and Gottlob Frege by Hans D. Sluga”, in Noûs, volume 18, number 2, page 342:
      His historical discussions always appear on point, well researched, and indicate a great deal of care.
    • 1994, John Kerr, A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein[2], →ISBN:
      Eitingon raised Jung's idea of substituting a new complex; Freud did not answer on point, but talked at length about transference.
    • 2004 October 13, Dick Meyer, “Opinion: Bush Did Well, But Kerry Won”, in CBS News, retrieved 22 June 2012:
      The second question of the night was about the shortage of flu vaccine. Bush gave a fine answer, on point.
  3. (ballet) On the tips of the toes; en pointe. [from 20th c.]
  4. (chiefly military) Having taken point; responsible for leading an operation; more generally, deployed and alert. [from 20th c.]
    • 2003, Aaron Traylor, chapter 14, in The DJ Chronicles: A Life Remixed, Port Hole Publications, →ISBN, page 71:
      Halo interrupted, “We are all dialed in. Music begins in five minutes. Security is on point. Light show is programmed. Do this for me: roll up the road and grab us some smokes at the convenience store across the street. Here's some cash.”

Alternative forms edit

See also edit