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

Points and three-pointers and percentages are great. Joe Freeman, oregonlive.com, "In era of NBA player empowerment, CJ McCollum bucks trend, stays loyal to Portland Trail Blazers," 31 July 2019 Wheeler came up big for Team Wilson with a game-sealing three-pointer to win 129–126 over Team Delle Donne. Jenna West, SI.com, "Erica Wheeler Becomes First Undrafted WNBA Player to Win All-Star Game MVP," 27 July 2019 Korver ranks fourth all-time with 2,351 three-pointers made, trailing only Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and Stephen Curry. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Kyle Korver is a still a threat from long range and fits in well in the Bucks' let-it-fly offense," 20 July 2019 The pacing of each round feels like something from NBA Jam, in terms of rushes across the court, opportunities to react, and a moment to breathe after either nailing a perfect three-pointer or getting wildly dunked on. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Boom-shaka-laka: Call of Duty’s new “Gunfight” mode is like NBA Jam with guns," 11 July 2019 Williams’ back-to-back three-pointers fueled the flames. Mia Berry, latimes.com, "Nneka Ogwumike and Chelsea Gray's big games help Sparks rout WNBA-leading Mystics," 7 July 2019 With the game tied at 76-76 with under two minutes left, the teams traded missed three-pointers back and forth. Julia Stumbaugh, azcentral, "Phoenix Mercury fall to Kia Nurse, New York Liberty, 80-76," 6 July 2019 Things held to script for a while, with Durant netting three three-pointers and a pair of free-throws in 12 minutes to stake Golden State to an early five-point lead. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "Kevin Durant’s Disastrous Comeback," 11 June 2019 Leonard and Curry exchange three pointers and the lead goes back and forth. Marc Stein, New York Times, "The Raptors Won Game 4 and Are 1 Win From an N.B.A. Championship," 7 June 2019

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

6 Aug 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).


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!