join (up) the dots

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join (up) the dots

1. Literally, to draw a line between dots, often as part of a children's activity to create an illustration or design. The kids are having fun joining the dots and making pretty pictures for us.
2. To understand something by piecing together hints or other bits of information. Once I started joining the dots, I realized that the "agent" who took my money to find work for me had totally ripped me off. When I saw the articles about the stolen semi truck and the escaped convict, it didn't take long to join up the dots.
3. To put two or more people, groups together in communication, association, or cooperation. Usually followed by "between (something) and (something else)." The mission of this program is to join the dots between our spirituality and our focus on real-world issues. Our group aims to join up the dots between local, state, and federal government agencies to provide comprehensive assistance to all our citizens.
See also: dot, join

join up the dots

add the missing links in a line of reasoning (and reach the inevitable conclusion).
The expression is based on the idea of an outline drawing made by tracing a line through a series of dots.
2003 Scotland on Sunday The Mercury Music Prize…really helped us to be taken seriously. I think a lot of people knew the songs but didn't necessarily know they were by us so it also helped to join up the dots for them.
See also: dot, join, up
References in periodicals archive ?
The hope is that we can join the dots between where we are at and where we need to be if 'one planet living' is the ultimate aim.
Moreover we need to join the dots up on provision putting the entrepreneur at the heart of needs-based support.
The full route is due to be announced in early December but fans can start trying to join the dots after this announcement.
How long before the Government finally join the dots and work out how to fix it?
The gathering, which will be open to the public, will feature fun awareness activities and games for children, including Spin the Wheel, puzzles, Join the dots, Play dough game, sack race, water bucket game, rubbish recycle bin toss and memory games.
Andrew Ward comments his appointment, "Transas is now entering a new phase of growth and beginning to join the dots of true interconnectivity from ship to shore.
Providing the keynote address on the night will be Julie O'Neill, strategic management consultant at Join The Dots, former secretary general of the Department of Transport and board member at Ryanair.
Skewbald horses Angrove Fatrascal, Join The Dots, Angrove Rumbaba, Modern Society and Silvery Moon are more famous for their looks than ability, but the popular Pancake, a chestnut with white legs and flecks on his belly, won five times and netted PS41,103 in prize-money.
I felt that doing an MBA would allow me to join the dots and justify decisions both personally and professionally for the future.
The Music Awards also join the dots between Radio 1 and Radio 2, something Jo k nows all about having moved to Radio 2 on a permanent basis in 2011 after 17 years at Radio 1.
To join the dots of this thinking by bilaterally recognising Palestine is hardly inconsistent or a giant leap.
But as the team try to join the dots between a headless man found in a sand-pit, a shrine to the goddess Nemesis, and a possible trade in illegal steroids, it's Danny's complicated personal life that turns out to be the real reason to tune in tonight.
To join the dots between our actions and their consequences and raise awareness about such environmental concerns, Bahar Dutt gave up conservation biology eight years ago to be an environment journalist.
Pick a dozen hits from one decade and then join the dots with a two-for-one romance.