Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Point-blank \Point`-blank"\, a.
Directed in a line toward the object aimed at; aimed directly toward the mark.
Hence, direct; plain; unqualified; -- said of language; as, a point-blank assertion.
Point-blank range, the extent of the apparent right line of a ball discharged.
Point-blank shot, the shot of a gun pointed directly toward the object to be hit.
Point-blank \Point`-blank"\, adv. In a point-blank manner.
To sin point-blank against God's word.
Point-blank \Point`-blank"\, n. [F. point point + blanc white.]
The white spot on a target, at which an arrow or other missile is aimed. [Obs.]
With all small arms, the second point in which the natural line of sight, when horizontal, cuts the trajectory.
With artillery, the point where the projectile first strikes the horizontal plane on which the gun stands, the axis of the piece being horizontal.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
1570s, said to be from point (v.) + blank (n.), here meaning the white center of a target. The notion would be of standing close enough to aim (point) at the blank without allowance for curve, windage, or gravity. But early references make no mention of a white target, and the phrase is possibly from a simplification of the French phrase de pointe en blanc, used in French gunnery in reference to firing a piece on the level into open space to test how far it will carry. In that case the blank represents "empty space" or perhaps the "zero point" of elevation. The whole phrase might be a French loan-translation from Italian. From 1590s as an adjective in English.
a. 1 (context forensics English) very close; not touching but not more than a few metres (yards). 2 (context ballistics English) the distance between a firearm and a target where a projectile in flight is expected to strike the centre of the target without adjusting the elevation of the firearm. 3 disconcertingly straightforward or blunt. adv. In a direct manner, without hesitation.
adj. characterized by directness in manner or speech; without subtlety or evasion; "blunt talking and straight shooting"; "a blunt New England farmer"; "I gave them my candid opinion"; "forthright criticism"; "a forthright approach to the problem"; "tell me what you think--and you may just as well be frank"; "it is possible to be outspoken without being rude"; "plainspoken and to the point"; "a point-blank accusation" [syn: blunt, candid, forthright, frank, free-spoken, outspoken, plainspoken, straight-from-the-shoulder]
close enough to go straight to the target; "point-blank range"; "a point-blank shot"
adv. in a direct and unequivocal manner; "I asked him point-blank whether he wanted the job"
Usage examples of "point-blank".
As Argent moved into the cramped cab area, the kidnapper riding shotgun fired his Manhunter from point-blank range.
Divination to keep practicing, but Hermione refused point-blank to skive off Arithmancy, and there was no point in staying without her.
Snatching a pistol from his belt with his left hand he fired point-blank and the black man groaned and fell head and arms dangling in the opening.
At the appointed second she blinked and came out on the nose with the Cassie Vandy sitting within point-blank range getting ready to put up her screens for the duel.
She could certainly not do anything without my consent, and she had evidently considered the affair too delicate to venture upon proposing the party point-blank to me.
At the instant Birdie Crull began to shake the padlock, Isaac Coffran raised his arm and fired point-blank at the tall man in the black cloak.
I objected that I was not yet a priest, but she foiled me by enquiring point-blank whether or not the act I had in view was to be numbered amongst the cardinal sins, for, not feeling the courage to deny it, I felt that I must give up the argument and put an end to the adventure.
Predictably, the prince had refused point-blank to cancel an affair that would offer the haunters a thousand opportunities.
There was a group of masked Ironheads off in a copse of young trees, destroying as many of the saplings as they could, firing point-blank at their trunks with blasters.
Harry stood then and fired point-blank at the circling jabbers whose slivers of metal ornaments shone in the morning mist.
Look what Rubel did-beat a guy to death with a ball bat, beat a guy near to death with a pipe, shot a guy point-blank in the chest.
If Elder got up now, Stu thought he would probably miss him with all five bullets at point-blank range.
Amyas, having, as he had said, the wind, and being able to go nearer it than the Spaniard, kept his place at easy point-blank range for his two eighteen-pounder culverins, which Yeo and his mate worked with terrible effect.
Then the second ballista blasted lead shot into them at point-blank range, lifting three warriors from their feet and slamming them into their comrades.
Instead of saving each weapon for a point-blank chill as he had been told to do, Mitchum instead gambled on a two-step barrage of high explosives.