dot 1 (dŏt)
a. A tiny round mark made by or as if by a pointed instrument; a spot.
b. Such a mark used in orthography, as above an i.
c. The basic unit of composition for an image produced by a device that prints text or graphics on paper: a resolution of 900 dots per inch.
2. A tiny amount.
3. In Morse and similar codes, the short sound or signal used in combination with the dash and silent intervals to represent letters, numbers, or punctuation.
a. A decimal point.
b. A symbol (·) indicating multiplication, as in 2 · 4 = 8.
5. Music A mark after a note indicating an increase in time value by half.
6. Computers A period, as used as in URLs and email addresses, to separate strings of words, as in www.hmhco.com.
v. dot·ted, dot·ting, dots
1. To mark with a dot.
2. To form or make with dots.
3. To cover with or as if with dots: "Campfires, like red, peculiar blossoms, dotted the night" (Stephen Crane).
To make a dot.
dot (one's) i's
To be thorough or painstaking in attending to details.
on/at the dot
Exactly at the appointed time; punctual or punctually: arrived at nine o'clock on the dot.
[Middle English *dot, from Old English dott, head of a boil.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.