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 clues 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, or things 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 ?
Companies from South West Ireland and the Midlands attend the UK launch of the Joining the Dots programme to promote stronger partnerships and collaboration
Under the theme 'Joining the Dots: Interdisciplinarity in Middle East Studies', the conference aimed to advance interdisciplinarity as vital in understanding the interconnectedness of the social, cultural, political and economic structures and conditions throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Joining the dots However, once the black hats manage to join the dots to and close these technology gaps, there could be trouble ahead.
Joining the dots between Tame Impala, HAIM and The Cure, these Manc music upstarts produce pop songs which cram an impossible amount of depth and texture into their four-minutes - from the waves of shoegazey, ambient guitar to the funk-infused basslines to the deep pathos of Abi White's stunning vocals.
The trick is going to be turning Naya into something tangible, joining the dots of better Pakistan in such a way as to get better better that in turn accretes to Naya.
And blockchain works as well for micropayments as it does for sizeable overseas transactions, and this becomes particularly interesting when we start joining the dots between individual behaviour and public/private services in smart cities.
That's why I'm happy to sing it, even though it came from a dark point in my life." Charlie has never spoken about his relationship with Selena, 25, before but fans started joining the dots when he unfollowed her on social media after a spat with her then-ex Justin Bieber, she never made it into the music video for We Don't Talk Anymore and he used a portrait very similar to her in his How Long video.
Marriyum said that by joining the dots of events unfolding in the country one after the other, the people of Pakistan could understand the game that was being enacted by these elements.
And Lord Mandelson said he was concerned that people planning to vote "Leave"in today's historic referendum were "not joining the dots" as to the consequences.
Source: CGMA, Joining the Dots: Decision Making for a New Era
Joining the Dots: A Fresh Approach to Piano Sight-Reading, Books 6-8, by Alan Bullard.
Brenda Blethyn's Vera is a no-nonsense Geordie who smiles knowingly and it's only once the killer has been unmasked that you realise she was joining the dots while you were enjoying the view.
The canals in this region are under-appreciated, but for Ikon they are an extraordinary network joining the dots of local communities that will be new audiences for the very best contemporary art.'
WestJet Encore also added new non-stop routes joining the dots in WestJet's network, including flights between Winnipeg and Saskatoon, Winnipegand Regina and between Vancouver and Kamloops, BC.
Mr Watt said: "However, this is not just about poor record keeping and a lack of joining the dots by the police."