Points of the compass


Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
(Naut.) the thirty-two points of division of the compass card in the mariner's compass; the corresponding points by which the circle of the horizon is supposed to be divided, of which the four marking the directions of east, west, north, and south, are called cardinal points, and the rest are named from their respective directions, as N. by E., N. N. E., N. E. by N., N. E., etc. See Illust. under Compass.

See also: Point

References in classic literature ?
As with you, so also with us, there are four points of the compass North, South, East, and West.
Bridges of wood and bridges of brick crossed the stream, and gave access to the house from all points of the compass. No human creature appeared in the neighborhood, and no sound was heard but the hoarse barking of a house-dog from an invisible courtyard.
Each of these stories or galleries has four windows, facing directly to the points of the compass, and rising of course regularly above each other.
--A Promenade over the Map of Africa.--What is contained between two Points of the Compass.--Expeditions now on foot.--Speke and Grant.--Krapf, De Decken, and De Heuglin.
Why, I can hardly tell which way the wind blows, when I’m out in the clearings, they are so thick and so tall; I couldn’t at all, if it wasn’t for the clouds, and I happen to know all the points of the compass, as it were, by heart.”
He did not see it in its usual position in the sky, so looked round the points of the compass. He was more than astonished when presently he saw the missing kite struggling as usual against the controlling cord.
Immediately from different points of the compass rose a horrid semicircle of similar shrieks and screams, punctuated now and again by the blood-curdling cry of a hungry panther.
He knew all about all the Water Sheds of all the world (whatever they are), and all the histories of all the peoples, and all the names of all the rivers and mountains, and all the productions, manners, and customs of all the countries, and all their boundaries and bearings on the two and thirty points of the compass. Ah, rather overdone, M'Choakumchild.
It is for this reason that I am compelled to be vague in my narrative, and I would warn my readers that in any map or diagram which I may give the relation of places to each other may be correct, but the points of the compass are carefully confused, so that in no way can it be taken as an actual guide to the country.
You wind in and out and here and there, in the most mysterious way, and have no more idea of the points of the compass than if you were a blind man.
The loaded vehicles were to be drawn by hand across a wide distance of plain without track or guide of any sort, except that which the trapper furnished by communicating his knowledge of the cardinal points of the compass. In accomplishing this object, the gigantic strength of the men was taxed to the utmost, nor were the females or the children spared a heavy proportion of the toil.
The metal trellises range from whimsical architectural shapes decorated with urns or points of the compass to traditional ones like the Josephine's fountain antique trellis fashioned by an Arkansas blacksmith.