Definition of pointer in US English:



  • 1A long, thin piece of metal on a scale or dial which moves to indicate a figure or position.

    • ‘A scale and pointer indicated the relative angle.’
    • ‘They can see how far they have moved the pointer as they go through the journey.’
    • ‘The old scale was analog, with a dial and a pointer that waggled a bit unless you stood perfectly still.’
    • ‘The expanding diaphragm moves the pointer across a scale calibrated in feet above sea level.’
    • ‘The shadow cast by the sun on a horizontal surface, such as the ground, moves clockwise around the pointer, but this time it varies in length during the day.’
    • ‘The entire operation was accomplished by turning a handwheel until the pointer indicated the desired angle on the graduated scale on the pedestal.’
    • ‘At the bottom of each there are a number of blank code spaces, and a pointer is set to indicate one of these on each item.’
    • ‘The big disadvantage, and almost a dead give-away of this trick, is that the compass pointer moves in direct response to the movement and the proximity of your body!’
    • ‘Toyota has slashed Camry's lead content by reformulating undercoating, greases, bronze alloys and taking lead out of meter pointers, connections and heater cores.’
    • ‘Similarly if the box becomes lighter then the spring will lift the box up and the pointer will move up the scale.’
    indicator, needle, arrow, hand
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    1. 1.1 A rod used for pointing to features on a map or chart.
      • ‘Some star charts are drawn with the pointers to help locate objects above.’
      • ‘Using a pistol, automatic weapon, and space gun as pointers, he highlighted places of American interest on the map.’
      • ‘He's got one prop, an umbrella, and his dance exhausts its every use: as a cane, a pointer, a balancer on the tightrope of a curb, a cyclotron whirling him inside a whirlwind.’
      • ‘To help him work with the predominantly non-English-speaking crew, he was given a laser pointer.’
      • ‘If someone arrives with large charts and pointers, where does it stop?’
      • ‘He tapped a spot on the map with the rubber tip of his pointer - the synthetic oil refinery at Odertal, Germany.’
      • ‘She pointed her pointer on the map and moved it over to Japan.’
      stick, rod, cane, pole, laser pointer, cursor
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    2. 1.2 A hint as to what might happen in the future.
      ‘the figures were a pointer to gradual economic recovery’
      • ‘Eye contact fosters trust and understanding and hence is a pointer to the quality of future interaction you may have with someone.’
      • ‘Mellon is financially astute and his arrival on the share register was a pointer to possible developments in the future.’
      • ‘The past is more than relevant, but it is never a pointer to the future.’
      • ‘United's eventual 6-5 defeat on aggregate to Real was painful and a pointer to where Ferguson will devote his energies, and money, next season.’
      • ‘In a pointer to the future, business investment dropped to a growth rate of 4.7 percent compared to 14.5 percent in the previous quarter.’
      • ‘The junior tour was first held in 1978 and has proved a pointer to the future stars in cycling.’
      • ‘Just as industrial America was for long the pointer to the world's economic future, so Australia was once a pointer to coming political institutions.’
      • ‘How he fares might give us a little pointer to his long-term Ireland future.’
      • ‘The opening weeks of 2005 are giving a firm pointer to the increased competitiveness and dramatic developments that will shape the telecommunications sector this year.’
      • ‘Dora Carrington was well beaten by Miranda in the Heinz 57 but perhaps that winner is very special indeed and if she runs on Sunday it will be an interesting pointer to the future claims of the Ballydoyle colt.’
      • ‘One can only hope that this is not a pointer to the future.’
      • ‘And to me it's like a map of some epic struggle between individuality and conformity - a wee multi-coloured pointer to the future of art.’
      • ‘Both as a pointer to the future and as a spectacle in its own right, the Championships have produced a quality of football that had at least one viewer occasionally leaping from his armchair to applaud the action.’
      • ‘The idea is that the aggregated purchases and disposals by directors is the most reliable pointer to the future direction of the market.’
      • ‘I do not know if I want to carry on with this but that is only a slight feeling and is no pointer to any future direction.’
      • ‘They buckled in 2000 in anticipation of the economic slump, and hopefully their resurgence now is a pointer to better things to come in the years ahead.’
      • ‘The sculpture would be a reminder of the past and the lights would represent a pointer to the future.’
      • ‘And is this fact no more than nostalgia or is it a pointer to what the future holds?’
      • ‘Manningham Mills is a grand old reminder of Bradford's historic industrial past, but with the hard work of all involved it could and should be a pointer to a bright future for the city.’
      • ‘The Golden Globes, voted for by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are seen as a pointer to this year's Oscars, and were held just two days before Oscar nominations are announced.’
      indication, indicator, clue, hint, lead, sign, signal, evidence, symptom, implication, intimation, inkling, suggestion
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    3. 1.3 A small piece of advice; a tip.
      ‘here are some pointers on how to go about the task’
      • ‘From a relatively old article (at least in terms of webloggia's attention-span) comes some pointers on improving design through simplicity.’
      • ‘But I'm not disappointed, because I got some excellent and very complimentary feedback, plus some very useful pointers on how I can develop my skills.’
      • ‘Before breaking camp at the base of the Root, your guide will give you pointers on crampon use and safe route-finding.’
      • ‘They've been giving us pointers on how to conduct it, what not to do, etc.’
      • ‘I made a good start actually, not sure of the quality of my analysis, but the whole point of this first assignment is that it is non-assessed to provide pointers on structure, style and content.’
      • ‘Only he's probably going to need some pointers on where all the pieces go.’
      • ‘The inspectors have commended us for those efforts and have given us a couple of useful pointers on how to continue our improvements and we are already taking action on those.’
      • ‘Anyway, helpful soul that I am, I thought I'd offer some pointers on getting through this holiday season in one reasonably sane piece.’
      • ‘He gave her some pointers on bow technique on just the first three notes of the movement, which was really interesting to hear.’
      • ‘For example, this government publication gives pointers on navigating deserts and swimming rivers safely.’
      • ‘Finally, well done to the Parents Association for organising a vet to come and talk to all the pupils last week and for giving them some very important pointers on keeping their pets healthy and happy.’
      • ‘With me playing the same position as her or whatever she would be giving me little pointers on the opposing team because they've been around and she's been around.’
      • ‘Disguised in magazine format, this Bible is chock-full of fun facts, answers to questions you wanted to know but were afraid to ask, and pointers on how to live.’
      • ‘A dedicated family man, this black belt in karate and ace accordion player will both guide you through the process of clearing your debts and give you a couple of pointers on budgeting and personal finance to boot.’
      • ‘At the lecture, they showed us slides with some basic pointers on International Humanitarian Law accompanied by some gruesome pictures.’
      • ‘The pupils have spent the last 6 weeks attending an evening class, every Monday, learning new techniques and pointers on improving their photos.’
      • ‘Did Karl want pointers on how he could bring Allen's bill to the big leagues?’
      • ‘When you're with a bunch of people in a similar position, try not to hark back to the olden days - compare notes on what's working for them and you'll get loads of pointers on things you want, and don't want, to do.’
      • ‘If the Labour Government wants a few pointers on saving almost all of the $21 million it wants to spend on promoting the budget, it should get in touch with me.’
      • ‘If anyone has any pointers on this, I'd love to hear them.’
      tip, hint, piece of advice, suggestion, guideline, recommendation, warning
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    4. 1.4Computing
      another term for cursor
      • ‘She was repeatedly banging the mouse on the foam wrist-rest of the mouse pad, causing the pointer on the screen to stop half way down monitor.’
      • ‘I emailed this person back, with a screenshot of my Start menu, with the mouse pointer pointing to the Printers folder at the top of the start menu.’
      • ‘One guy called me and said he had to have a larger work desk, because he did not reach down to to left corner of the screen with his mouse pointer.’
      • ‘The idea is that as you roll your mouse pointer over the screen, the various function buttons will produce a response in the mouse that you can feel.’
      • ‘If you have a wheel mouse try placing the pointer in the bottom scroll bar and playing with the wheel.’
    5. 1.5Computing A variable whose value is the address of another variable; a link.
      • ‘When the queue for that link reaches a pointer in the FIFO for that data packet, it is retrieved from memory and forwarded to its destination.’
      • ‘These identifiers will serve as pointers to the metadata information in the local system.’
      • ‘What that metadata harvesting protocol really is fundamentally, is a way for metadata and pointers to data to migrate from one system to another.’
      • ‘Strictly speaking, a null pointer, one of the most common errors in C programming, is a pointer with an uninitialised value.’
      • ‘The only back pointer available is the link to the original community.’
  • 2A dog of a breed that on scenting game stands rigid looking toward it.

    • ‘If there was one, it would be a dog, probably a pointer or a collie, and it would be trained so well it would probably die on command.’
    • ‘These are descriptions of good bird dogs or gun dogs - pointers and setters.’
    • ‘This guy, this kid, teaches his dog, a mongrel, to be a pointer, and his father hates the idea because he breeds pure-breeds.’
    • ‘Dr. Thornton was involved in more than just importing and breeding the German shorthaired pointer in those early years.’
    • ‘Samantha Dyer, 14, of Sorrell Close, Goldhanger, has been breeding and showing pointers, with her mum, Sharon, since she was seven.’
    • ‘It can be a timesaver to have a bird dog, a pointer in an unknown area.’
    • ‘Ann Jones takes a selection of gun dogs including springer spaniels, german pointers and Labradors for a stroll during the fair.’
    • ‘Greyhounds and pointers also often carry this extreme white gene.’
    • ‘She said she had bred pointers and kept budgerigars and fancied something different.’