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Posted by James Briggs on February 17, 2004

In Reply to: Point-blank posted by ESC on February 16, 2004

: : Can someone explain me the idiom point-blank.
: : Following is the dialog where I came across it for the ist time.
: : S1- I am upset.Somebody told my boss I have a part time job.
: : S2-And he doesn't like that?
: : S1-No, he doesn't.He thinks I am too tired to work.
: : S2-I am sorry.I have to admit I told him.
: : S1- You told him? why?
: : S2-I couldn't help it.He asked me point-blank.

: It means he asked a direct question. From Merriam-Webster online:

: One entry found for point-blank.

: Main Entry: point-blank
: Pronunciation: 'point-'bla[ng]k
: Function: adjective
: 1 a : marked by no appreciable drop below initial horizontal line of flight b : so close to a target that a missile fired will travel in a straight line to the mark
: 2 : DIRECT, BLUNT A point-blank refusal.
: - point-blank adverb

Point-blank, means close to or direct, such as "he was shot at point-blank range". The origin here is close to its present day use and comes from gunnery. Point-blank is when the line of sight of a cannon is parallel to its axis. Shot then flies direct to the target without a curve. Naturally such a target must be nearby. 'Point blanc' is also French for the centre of a bullseye target and this may have had an influence in the phrase.