ci·​ta·​tion | \sī-ˈtā-shən \

Definition of citation 

1 : an official summons to appear (as before a court)

2a : an act of quoting especially : the citing of a previously settled case at law

b : excerpt, quotation His homily included several biblical citations.

3 : mention: such as

a : a formal statement of the achievements of a person receiving an academic honor

b : specific reference in a military dispatch to meritorious performance of duty a citation for bravery

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from citation

citational \-​shnəl, -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

My Battlefield exploits now read more like The Myth of Sisyphus than a medal of honor citation. T.c. Sottek, The Verge, "Battlefield V’s single-player stories are the right way to do war games," 20 Nov. 2018 Indeed, the earliest citation Stamper can find—from the U.K. newspaper The Independent in 2010—is fittingly meta: in a think piece begging tourism marketers to stop dreaming up awkward words. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Made-Up Travel Words We Love to Hate," 18 July 2018 Maxwell wasn’t as lucky with Atlanta police, who initially issued a citation against Maxwell for disorderly conduct before releasing him. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Beyonce, Jay-Z fan who rushed the stage at singers' concert facing charges," 27 Aug. 2018 Virgil said the man was issued a municipal citation for assault. Max Londberg And Matt Campbell, kansascity, "KC-area woman sucker punched by stranger on camera. She fears it was part of a game," 11 July 2018 Two other teens — a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old — were issued a citation after they were stopped on a dirt bike and ATV. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "Teens among 11 arrested during illegal ATV, dirt bike riding sting on Atlanta roads," 10 July 2018 Sheri Lee Taylor, 33, of Milwaukee was arrested and issued a municipal citation for disorderly conduct after she was found intoxicated and causing a disturbance. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "12-year-old punches mom in the forehead for regularly getting drunk; mother allegedly bites him," 27 June 2018 When that didn’t help, the vineyard was issued a citation. John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star, "Concerts at winery strike sour note with neighbors in McCordsville," 22 June 2018 The man was issued a criminal citation after damaging the window, Tufano said. Jane Wester, charlotteobserver, "He smashed a window after getting kicked out of a bar. A CMPD cop may have saved his life," 20 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of citation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for citation

see cite

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about citation

Dictionary Entries near citation





citation form



Statistics for citation

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for citation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for citation



English Language Learners Definition of citation

: an official order to appear before a court of law

: a formal public statement that praises a person for doing something good or brave

: a line or short section taken from a piece of writing or a speech


ci·​ta·​tion | \sī-ˈtā-shən \

Kids Definition of citation

1 : an official order to appear in court

2 : an act or instance of quoting

3 : quotation

4 : a formal public statement praising a person for doing something good a citation for bravery


ci·​ta·​tion | \sī-ˈtā-shən \

Legal Definition of citation 

1 : a writ giving notice to a person to appear in court: as

a : a process served upon an interested party in a probate proceeding

b : 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.

2 : 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

Other Words from citation

citational \-​shə-​nəl \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on citation

What made you want to look up citation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!