Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

So she refused point-blank to join in.

What does the expression point-blank mean in this context? Could you give me some more examples of situations where this phrase could be used?

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Jim, Mari-Lou A, choster, medica, FumbleFingers May 10 at 22:22

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – Jim, Mari-Lou A, choster, medica, FumbleFingers
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
After having looked it up in a dictionary, what questions do you have? thefreedictionary.com/point-blank –  Jim May 10 at 18:06

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It is an expression used to say that someone very bluntly did something with emphasis. Usually when used it means that there was some historical context involving the action in that the person doing something point-blank could/should have been expected to do that. Often there is a connotation of hostility or at the very least conveying that you do not want to be questioned about your actions.

Usage:

  • I told my husband point-blank if he hits me one more time that I am leaving.

  • "Dad can I borrow your Porsche?" Dad replies, "Steve, point-blank no!"

share|improve this answer

There's an interesting discussion of the origins of the expression here:

http://www.wordwizard.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=22750

Usually used of a gun, it has become a metaphor for manner.

POINT BLANK adjective; adverb

[1591] Aimed straight at the mark or target without allowing for the drop in a projectile's course [due to gravity], firing straight at the target – point blank –one may hit the target if one is close enough.

[1598] (figurative): Without hesitation, deliberation, or equivocation; plainly, bluntly, directly, frankly; abruptly or rudely: She told him point-blank that he was not welcome.

share|improve this answer
    
@medica - Feel free :-) –  Erik Kowal May 10 at 20:19
    
thanks! I enjoyed that article. I never caught the gravity part before. :) –  medica May 10 at 20:29
    
.... I'm free! –  Edwin Ashworth May 10 at 20:49
    
@EdwinAshworth - lol! and congrats on new privileges. And thanks for the edit. –  medica May 10 at 20:50
    
With the way edits are shown, I found it hard to sort out where the necessary 'adverb' was left out. We'll blame Erik. On the other hand, he does prefer a decent ruby ale to American lager. –  Edwin Ashworth May 10 at 21:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.