Definition of citation in English:


Syllabification: ci·ta·tion
Pronunciation: /sīˈtāSHən
(abbreviation: cit.)


  • 1A quotation from or reference to a book, paper, or author, especially in a scholarly work: there were dozens of citations from the works of Byron recognition through citation is one of the principal rewards in science
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    • Not that the book lacks citations, references and footnotes.
    • The endnotes are primarily scholarly citations of sources, while the footnotes amplify, explain, or illuminate details or side stories.
    • In 1905, he published five landmark papers without footnotes or citations.
  • 1.1A mention of a praiseworthy act or achievement in an official report, especially that of a member of the armed forces in wartime.
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    • Those records include the official after-action report, citations for Bronze Stars awarded for heroism that day and now the Task Force 115 report.
    • He has received many citations and official commendations and published two volumes of collected poems he wrote.
    • The citation praises in particular the penthouse flat which it describes as a tour de force.
  • 1.2A note accompanying an award, describing the reasons for it: the Nobel citation noted that his discovery would be useful for energy conversion technology
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    • The remainder of the story is best told in the citation accompanying the award of his Air Force Cross.
    • The citation accompanying the award said he was tasked with the disposal of two sea mines.
    • He read the citation accompanying the award and added his own praise.
  • 1.3 Law A reference to a former tried case, used as guidance in the trying of comparable cases or in support of an argument.
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    • Each patent abstract provides a list of citations to previous patents, that is, the ‘prior art’ upon which the current patent builds.
    • The notice shall state concisely the section which is said to be unconstitutional or ultra vires, a brief statement of the argument to be made, and the citation of any cases which are relied upon for support of the argument.
    • If foreign decisions were freely citable, it would mean that any judge wanting a supporting citation had only to troll deeply enough in the world's corpus juris to find it.
  • 2North American A summons: a traffic citation
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    • A citation requires a court appearance with the punishment and fine being determined by the judge upon conviction.
    • Indeed, he was told he would face a contempt of court citation if he disclosed either his complaint or the censure.
    • The police prosecutor has used it in court to look up the driving history of people who were appealing traffic citations.


Middle English (sense 2): from Old French, from Latin citation-, from citare 'cite'.

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