noun ci·ta·tion \ sī-ˈtā-shən \
|Updated on: 16 Aug 2018

Definition of citation

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


play \-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\ adjective

Examples of citation in a Sentence

  1. He was issued a citation.

  2. He received a citation for reckless driving.

  3. gave her a citation for bravery

Recent Examples of citation from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of citation

see cite

Synonym Discussion of 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

CITATION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of citation for English Language Learners

  • : 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

CITATION Defined for Kids


noun ci·ta·tion \ sī-ˈtā-shən \

Definition of citation for Students

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

Law Dictionary


noun 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


play \-shə-nəl\ adjective

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excessive admiration or flattery

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