Take point

Take point

In modern military parlance, take point or to walk point is an idiom referring to assuming the first and most exposed position in a combat military formation, that is, the lead element advancing through hostile or unsecured territory. [http://www.knives.com/language.html Céileachair, Daithí Ó (2005) "Language and Knives"] ; ] [ [http://www.bartleby.com/61/8/P0400800.html "Point" definition 30a & b "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language" (4th ed.) 2000] ] The term can be applied to infantry or mechanized columns. The soldier, vehicle, or unit on point is frequently the first to take hostile fire. The inherent risks of taking point create a need for constant and extreme operational alertness. However, ambushes often intend to let the point element past the prime killing zone in order to be maximally effective. Point position is often rotated periodically so as not to overtax individual elements.

Originally, "take point" was a common idiom used during World War II by US ground forces; its use continued through Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. This idiom, "take point" has entered the vernacular in many ways. "Taking point" is often used in describing pathfinding behaviors in non-military situations, or simply to mean "lead the challenge", often in a business context. [ [http://www.proz.com/glossary-translations/english-to-dutch-translations/87 "to walk point" English to Dutch Marketing/Market Research idioms] ;] In some cases it has replaced the idiom "stalking horse".

Derived from the above expression, in recent American youth (especially hip hop) culture, the idiom "on point" refers either to someone who possesses abundant and various qualities of competence, leadership or style, or to specific acts which demonstrate such qualities. [ [http://web.mit.edu/cultureshock/fa2003/essays/lashaunta.html Urban Wear: Hip-Hop Culture as Identity] by Lashaunta Santos at MIT's [http://web.mit.edu/cultureshock/fa2003/index.html Cultureshock] group weblog ] [ [http://www.ukhh.com/features/interviews/dominant_g/index2.html Interview wih DominantG] on [http://www.ukhh.com/index.html UKHH.com] ] Especially profound lyrics, a particular musical performance or a philosophical position might be referred to as "on point." This varies somewhat from the traditional meaning of the phrase, "directly applicable or dispositive of the matter under consideration." [ [http://www.answers.com/on+point&r=67 On Point definition] at [http://www.answers.com/ Answers.com] ]

References

Other sources

* [http://www.mountainx.com/features/2006/0809kieffer.php "Walking Point"] ": The energetic journey of Edwin Kieffer," by Jeff Brodsky in August 9, 2006 [http://www.mountainx.com/index.php Mountain Xpress] (accessed Sept. 23, 2006)


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