point blank

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

This common shooting term derives old English longbow practices: a common target was the white skull of a bull, and the greatest skill could be illustrated by getting a "bull's eye". When the archer is far from the target, the arrow must be pointed high, due to the arched trajectory of an arrow. When the archer is very close to the target, then they may point directly, without aiming above the white bull's skull, hence "pointing at the white", or "point blanc" as it was stated in those times. Some say that the term comes from French, where point means aim and blanc means white. The term is now an established military term, "point blank" range, or the distance at which a firearm can be directly aimed at the target without consideration of the arched trajectory. Modern firearms often have a "point blank" range of a few hundred yards.

Adjective[edit]

point blank (not comparable)

  1. The distance between a gun and a target such that it requires minimal effort in aiming it. In particular no allowance needs to be made for effects of gravity, target movement or wind in aiming the projectile.

Adverb[edit]

point blank (not comparable)

  1. Horizontally (as the angle at which a projectile is launched); directly or straight (at the target).
  2. (idiomatic) Directly; bluntly; without pretense or caution.
    I asked him point blank whether he was cheating on his wife.

Translations[edit]