ci·​ta·​tion sī-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce citation (audio)
: an official summons to appear (as before a court)
: an act of quoting
especially : the citing of a previously settled case at law
: excerpt, quotation
His homily included several biblical citations.
: mention: such as
: a formal statement of the achievements of a person receiving an academic honor
: specific reference in a military dispatch to meritorious performance of duty
a citation for bravery
sī-ˈtā-shnəl How to pronounce citation (audio)
Choose the Right Synonym for citation

encomium, eulogy, panegyric, tribute, citation mean a formal expression of praise.

encomium implies enthusiasm and warmth in praising a person or a thing.

received encomiums from literary critics

eulogy applies to a prepared speech or writing extolling the virtues and services of a person.

delivered the eulogy at the funeral service

panegyric suggests an elaborate often poetic compliment.

her lyrical memoir was a panegyric to her mentor

tribute implies deeply felt praise conveyed either through words or through a significant act.

the concert was a musical tribute to the early jazz masters

citation applies to the formal praise of a person offered in a military dispatch or in awarding an honorary degree.

earned a citation for bravery

Examples of citation in a Sentence

He was issued a citation. He received a citation for reckless driving. gave her a citation for bravery
Recent Examples on the Web On Saturday, June 29 at 8:27 p.m. local time, Mahomes Sr., 53, was issued the citation while driving along State Highway 49 near Tyler in Smith County, the court document shows. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 15 July 2024 Police did, however, issue 53-year-old Mahomes a citation for driving without a proper driver’s license, TMZ reported. Jessica Schladebeck, New York Daily News, 12 July 2024 Police handed out 144 citations, with $144,000 in fines, in 2019 and 108 citations in 2020, according to the Riverside City Fire Department. Nathaniel Percy, Orange County Register, 2 July 2024 His citation docket initiative seeks to address those low-level offenses with citations and an offer to complete community service in exchange for dismissing the case. Darcy Costello, Baltimore Sun, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for citation 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'citation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see cite

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of citation was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near citation

Cite this Entry

“Citation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


ci·​ta·​tion sī-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce citation (audio)
: an official order to appear (as before a court)
: an act or instance of quoting
: a formal statement of what a person did to be chosen to receive an award

Legal Definition


ci·​ta·​tion sī-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce citation (audio)
: a writ giving notice to a person to appear in court: as
: a process served upon an interested party in a probate proceeding
: a notice to a person that he or she is charged with a petty offense (as a traffic violation)
also : the document embodying the notice

Note: Citations are issued in minor criminal cases as an alternative to arrest. Often a person may consent in writing to the penalty specified on the citation and forgo an appearance in court.

: the citing of a previously decided case or recognized legal authority as support for an argument
also : the caption used for referring to such a case or authority especially as published in a reporter
citational adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on citation

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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