The point part of the word is really to do with a tool meeting a surface. Dating back to the 15th century, drypoint is a type of intaglio print. The process is that of scratching lines into a bare metal plate with a sharp point.

Drypoint differs from etching in that acid is not used to bite the design into the plate and from engraving in that the incision is not pushed through the surface but more applied as a drawing tool.

Drypoint mixes well with other techniques and is also employed to retouch or reinforce designs on etching plates that have been worn out resulting in blurred contours.