verb \ ˈsīt \
|Updated on: 22 Jun 2018

Definition of cite

cited; citing
1 : to call upon officially or authoritatively to appear (as before a court)
2 : to quote by way of example, authority, or proof
  • cites several noteworthy authors
3 a : to refer to; especially : to mention formally in commendation or praise
  • She was cited for bravery.
b : to name in a citation
  • cited by the trustees for his work in public health
4 : to bring forward or call to another's attention especially as an example, proof, or precedent
  • cited the weather as a reason for canceling the picnic
  • cited several studies that support his theory


play \ˈsī-tə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of cite in a Sentence

  1. The article cites several experts on the subject.

  2. The museum had often been cited as an example of successful fund-raising.

  3. He cited evidence suggesting she was in the area when the crime was committed.

  4. She was cited for reckless driving.

Recent Examples of cite from the Web

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

cite, sight, and site

The three homophones cite, sight, and site are occasionally confused by some people when used as nouns (sight and site) or as verbs (all three words). They needn’t cause trouble: with a little thought, most people who struggle with them can settle upon the correct choice.

Cite is most often encountered in the sense of “to name in a citation”; it may also mean “to mention as an example” or “to order to appear in a court of law.“

Most of the senses of sight are concerned with the act or action of seeing. A wonderful spectacle might be described as a sight, as might the general capacity to see anything (“my sight is not as good as it once was”).

Site is most often concerned with location; it is related to the verb situate "to locate" and situation "a position." A building site is the place where the building is, or will be, located. In contemporary English, site has increasingly been used as a shortened form of website, for the location of a specific page on the Internet.

If you connect citation with cite, eyesight with sight, and situate with site, you are unlikely to make an error.

Origin and Etymology of cite

Middle English, from Anglo-French citer to cite, summon, from Latin citare to put in motion, rouse, summon, from frequentative of ciēre to stir, move — more at -kinesis

Synonym Discussion of cite

summon, call, cite, convoke, convene, muster mean to demand the presence of. summon implies the exercise of authority.
    • was summoned to answer charges
call may be used less formally for summon.
    • called the legislature into special session
cite implies a summoning to court usually to answer a charge.
    • cited for drunken driving
convoke implies a summons to assemble for deliberative or legislative purposes.
    • convoked a Vatican council
convene is somewhat less formal than convoke.
    • convened the students
muster suggests a calling up of a number of things that form a group in order that they may be exhibited, displayed, or utilized as a whole.
    • mustered the troops

CITE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of cite for English Language Learners

  • : to write or say the words of (a book, author, etc.)

  • : to mention (something) especially as an example or to support an idea or opinion

  • law : to order (someone) to appear before a court of law

CITE Defined for Kids


verb \ ˈsīt \

Definition of cite for Students

cited; citing
1 : to order to appear in court
  • She was cited for reckless driving.
2 : to quote as an example, authority, or proof
  • He cites several experts in his report.
3 : to refer to especially in praise
  • The school was cited as a model for others.

Law Dictionary


transitive verb \ ˈsīt \

legal Definition of cite

cited; citing
1 : to demand the appearance of in court : serve with a citation
  • had been cited for contempt
  • you are hereby cited to show cause in the Probate Court
2 : to quote or refer to as a precedent or authority
  • the plaintiff cites several cases for the proposition

Origin and Etymology of cite

Latin citare to rouse, call on, summon

Seen and Heard

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to pay off by making regular payments

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