The points of the compass, specifically on the compass rose, mark divisions of a compass; such divisions may be referred to as "winds" or "directions". A compass point allows reference to a specific heading (or course or azimuth) in a general or colloquial fashion, without having to compute or remember degrees.

A compass is primarily divided into the four cardinal points — north, south, east, and west. These are often further subdivided by the addition of the four intercardinal (or ordinal) directions — northeast (NE) between north and east, southeast (SE), southwest (SW), and northwest (NW) - to indicate the eight principal winds. In meteorological usage, further intermediate points between cardinal and ordinal points, such as north-northeast (NNE) between north and northeast, are added to give the sixteen points of a wind compass.

At the most complete division in European tradition, are the full thirty-two points of the mariner's compass, which adds points such as north by east (NbE) between north and north-northeast, and northeast by north (NEbN) between north-northeast and northeast.

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