Meaning of punctum in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpʌŋ(k)təm/

nounplural noun puncta/ˈpʌŋ(k)tə/

  • 1 technical A small, distinct point.

    ‘Barthes writes, ‘However lightning-like it may be, the punctum has, more or less potentially, a power of expansion.’’
    • ‘In view of the history of recurring meningitis, search of the child's skin then showed a small punctum in the back of the neck.’
    • ‘For Barthes, the catastrophe is unavoidable because time obliterates the punctum, or small space, registered in the photograph.’
    1. 1.1Anatomy The opening of a tear duct.
      ‘Goins explained that each eyelid has one punctum, a tiny opening that drains tears away from the eye.’
      • ‘This incision is made on the medial aspect of the puncta and anterior to the lacrimal duct probes.’
      • ‘This serves to elevate the lower lid and reposition the lacrimal punctum with significant improvement in tear drainage and distribution.’
      • ‘In severe cases, occlusion of the lacrimal drainage puncta or tarsorrhaphy will be necessary.’
      • ‘They drain out of the eyes through two ducts called punctum or lacrimal ducts, one on each of the upper and lower lids.’


Late 16th century (figuratively, denoting a point): from Latin, literally ‘a point’.