an·​no·​ta·​tion | \ˌa-nə-ˈtā-shən \

Definition of annotation 

1 : a note added by way of comment or explanation The bibliography was provided with helpful annotations.

2 : the act of annotating something

Examples of annotation in a Sentence

Without the annotations, the diagram would be hard to understand. the author's annotation of the diagram

Recent Examples on the Web

Like just about every other plot element, Josh’s mental issues are telegraphed by lazy visual annotations rather than solid writing. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, "Review: Two Brothers, One Therapist and an ‘Aardvark’," 12 Apr. 2018 Another playlist, for the Travel Channel, further defined his tastes by including annotations of the songs. Randall Roberts,, "Anthony Bourdain wasn't just a food lover — he was a music freak, too," 8 June 2018 Read her speech below and click on the yellow, highlighted text to view annotations by the Fix. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Stacey Abrams’s victory speech, annotated," 23 May 2018 It will be published in English in its entirety for the first time next month as The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein: The Far East, Palestine and Spain, 1922-1923, with annotations by the Einstein scholar Ze’ev Rosenkranz. Sandra Dionisi, Smithsonian, "When Albert Einstein Visited Japan," 18 Apr. 2018 But Eden still gets to play a major role in the finale, thanks to something June finds in her belongings: a copy of the Bible, covered in Eden’s own notes and annotations. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Finale Offers a Light in the Darkness," 11 July 2018 Right now, self-driving software depends heavily on human-developed models and even explicit human annotation of road scenes to understand which objects in a particular scene are cars, pedestrians, bicycles, trees, buildings, and so forth. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Google researchers created an amazing scene-rendering AI," 29 June 2018 This is good thing since most of Kaufman and Hart’s topical humor needs extensive annotation. Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader, "Oak Park Festival Theatre uncovers hidden depths in You Can’t Take It With You," 21 June 2018 His annotations crackled with apocalypticism, offering readers a precise understanding of when the world would end and what would happen beforehand. Liya Rechtman,, "When the apocalypse is a feature, not a bug," 12 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'annotation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of annotation

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for annotation

see annotate

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Time Traveler for annotation

The first known use of annotation was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of annotation

: a note added to a text, book, drawing, etc., as a comment or explanation

: the act of adding notes or comments to something : the act of annotating something


an·​no·​ta·​tion | \ˌa-nə-ˈtā-shən \

Legal Definition of annotation 

1 : a note added (as to a statute) by way of comment or explanation often furnishing summaries of relevant court decisions

2 capitalized : an informational and descriptive note or essay (as about a case or legal issue) especially in American Law Reports

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