point·er | \ ˈpȯin-tər \

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

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Synonyms for pointer


hint, lead, tip

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Yeah, he’s given me some pointers and stuff like that. Greg Moore, azcentral, "Moore: Will Vegas get an NBA team? Question more 'when' than 'whether'," 11 July 2018 Green nailed a three-pointer, and Thompson had two of his own . Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Game 1 an overtime thriller for Warriors," 31 May 2018 Washington made 8 of 11 attempts from the field with a pair of three-pointers while making all six of his attempts from the foul line. Dave Clark, Cincinnati.com, "UC's Kyle Washington earns all-Portsmouth Invitational honors," 16 Apr. 2018 The Eagles used a hot start to build a 29-21 halftime lead, with a trio of early three-pointers by Zach Stephenson and another by Andrew Nguyen contributing to a 21-7 opening run. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Cy Falls, Bush return to regional quarterfinals," 24 Feb. 2018 The Ducks went on a 10-2 run to open the second quarter, behind a pair of three-pointers by Bando, to take control. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Oregon women shoot 62 percent in victory at Washington State," 11 Feb. 2018 Late in the second quarter, DiVincenzo drove the right side of the lane with his left hand before turning and kicking the ball back out to the corner for Trice, who buried a three-pointer. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "It's a start! Top pick Donte DiVincenzo plays his first game as a Buck," 12 July 2018 Hooper didn't attempt a two-pointer his final season, shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc during his college career. George Stoia, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons add new Hooper for Summer League; is that you, dad?," 3 July 2018 Playing with a laser pointer may have left a young boy with permanent eye damage, according to a case study. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "A Laser Pointer Burned a Hole in a 9-Year-Old Boy's Eye, Doctors Say," 22 June 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.

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First Known Use of pointer

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

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Statistics for pointer

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pointer

The first known use of pointer was in 1534

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More Definitions for pointer



English Language Learners Definition of pointer

: a useful suggestion about how to do or understand something better

: 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 \

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

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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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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