point·​er | \ ˈpȯin-tər How to pronounce pointer (audio) \

Definition of pointer

1a Pointers plural : the two stars in the Big Dipper a line through which points to the North Star
b : one that points out especially : a rod used to direct attention
c : a computer memory address that contains another address (as of desired data)
2 : any of various large, strong, slender gundogs that hunt by scent and indicate the presence of game by pointing (see point entry 2 sense 4b) specifically : any of an English breed of agile, muscular dogs having a short, smooth coat that is usually white with patches of liver, pale yellow, black, or orange and a moderately long tapered tail — see also german shorthaired pointer, german wirehaired pointer
3 : one that furnishes with points
4 : a useful suggestion or hint : tip

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for pointer


hand, index, indicator, needle

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of pointer in a Sentence

Let me give you a few pointers on managing a successful business. The latest data gives a pointer to the economy's overall growth. This may be a pointer to a very serious problem.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Home to the Dow Chemical Company, Midland (as the name suggests) is in the center of the state’s mitten shape, between the thumb and pointer finger. Ann Votaw, Marie Claire, "I Went to the Harvard of Santa Schools to Become Mrs. Claus," 20 Dec. 2018 The Tar Heels’ Luke Maye led all players with 20 points, including four three-pointers, while Pinson, a unique passing forward, had six assists and eight rebounds but just four points, going 1-for-10 from the field. Marc Tracy, New York Times, "Virginia Defeats North Carolina for A.C.C. Championship," 10 Mar. 2018 Follow these pointers for the best experience: Prioritize form over everything. SELF, "Your Guide to Navigating the Free Weights at the Gym," 12 Jan. 2019 He’s given the team more than anyone expected, notably shooting 50.5 percent from the floor and 50 percent on three-pointers (40-for-80) over 18 games in last year’s playoffs. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Game 2: Cavs have a Draymond problem," 3 June 2018 Harden hadn't made a three-pointer since the second quarter of Game 4. Jenna West, SI.com, "The Warriors Weren't Ready for the Series to End and Neither Was Twitter," 26 May 2018 Polin made a key three-pointer late in the second overtime. Mike Owens, Philly.com, "Mike Owens' 2017-18 girls' basketball awards: Team of the year, player of the year, and more," 13 Apr. 2018 He got fouled on a dunk attempt and made two free throws, then Brandon Jennings made a three-pointer and Muhammad added a layup to give the Bucks a 7-0 run — and a seven-point lead — heading into the fourth. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks 102, Magic 86: Bledsoe leads the way in sloppy affair," 9 Apr. 2018 Remember, Michigan wouldn’t be playing in the national championship game on Monday against Villanova, if Poole doesn't make that three-pointer. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Jordan Poole halftime speech sparks Michigan to national title game," 1 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pointer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of pointer

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pointer

Statistics for pointer

Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pointer

The first known use of pointer was in 1534

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pointer



English Language Learners Definition of pointer

: a useful suggestion about how to do or understand something better
British : a sign that shows the condition or existence of something
: a thin stick that a person uses to show people where to look on a screen, map, etc.


point·​er | \ ˈpȯin-tər How to pronounce pointer (audio) \

Kids Definition of pointer

1 : something that points or is used for pointing
2 : a helpful hint I got a few pointers on diving.
3 : a large dog with long ears and short hair that is trained to direct its head and body in the direction of an animal that is being hunted


Medical Definition of pointer

— see hip pointer

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pointer

What made you want to look up pointer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to corrupt or become corrupted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!