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The term point-blank has both a literal and a figurative meaning. We will look at both definitions of the term point-blank, the origin of this compound word, and some examples of its use in sentences.

The first, literal meaning of the term point-blank is at close range, firing a gun from such a close position to the target that it is impossible to miss. The second, figurative meaning of the term point-blank is blunt, plain-speaking, direct. There has been an interesting evolution in the meaning of the word point-blank. The French term pointé à blanc was an archery term which described the range from which an archer could shoot an arrow into the middle or white circle of a target without adjusting for gravity. With the invention of the gun, the term morphed into de pointe en blanc and described how far a firearm held in a level position will shoot. By the turn of the seventeenth century, the term took on the figurative meaning of plain-speaking and bluntness. Today, the term point-blank range is used in the gun industry to describe how far a firearm will shoot and hit a target without the need to adjust for gravity. Note that the term point-blank is hyphenated.


“The assailant fired one round, the bullet passed through his right temple… it looks the victim was shot point-blank.” said a police officer adding that the accused fled the spot immediately after the incident. (The Daily News & Analysis)

Deering said point-blank that many wood-heat projects no longer make financial sense. (The Juneau Empire)

A young father was executed at point-blank range by a gunman on the front lawn of a friend’s house. (The Evening Standard)

The most substantial comments came from Buffalo Wild Wings North America executive vice president Judith Shoulak, who earlier this month said point-blank: “We believe that our lunch program can lead to strengthening of other dayparts.” (Forbes Magazine)