foot·​note | \ ˈfu̇t-ˌnōt \

Definition of footnote

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a note of reference, explanation, or comment usually placed below the text on a printed page
2a : one that is a relatively subordinate or minor part (as of an event, work, or field) a movement now regarded as a footnote to architectural history


footnoted; footnoting; footnotes

Definition of footnote (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to furnish with a footnote : annotate

Examples of footnote in a Sentence


a movement now regarded as a footnote to history

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The letter also included a footnote that requested that the campaign search not just for emails referring to Mr. Papadopoulos but also for potential misspellings of his last name. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "Tantalizing Testimony From a Top Trump Aide Sets Off a Search for Proof," 15 May 2018 Teams that make impressive playoff runs and fall short become footnotes. Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, "Vegas Golden Knights look to regain momentum vs. Capitals to avoid becoming a footnote," 3 June 2018 Now, as a sidebar footnote for my fellow leggings/spandex shorts fans: some of my favorite inexpensive training wear finds have been from just Old Navy and Target, with a smattering of random Amazon finds. Casey Johnston, SELF, "Ask a Swole Woman: What Are the Best Pants for Lifting Weights?," 13 Dec. 2018 Their moments of agony became a footnote to a bloody campaign. Carl Prine,, "His valor forgotten for a half-century, Marine killed in action to receive battlefield award," 23 Apr. 2018 But by the late 1980s, the brand had become more of a footnote, tumbling to about 40 locations at its low point. Bonnie Miller Rubin, WSJ, "They Were Huge Franchises. Why Did They Collapse?," 25 Nov. 2018 In June of 1888, a man named Hugh McIntire was arrested for a minor heist that would become a major footnote in Boston etymology. Billy Baker,, "Can I have a tonic? No, not that tonic," 30 May 2018 In addition to employing on-beat enunciation that should be taught in public speaking classes, Migos also imbues their bars with a deft selection of pop culture footnotes and a subtle sense of humor. Molly Eichel,, "If there's one hip hop trio that would survive the apocalypse, it'd be Migos," 15 May 2018 Among the redactions are portions of footnote 43 in the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia report. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Who Is Michael Sussmann?," 11 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Two European novelists, Ronald Firbank and Louis-Ferdinand Céline, are footnoted, with their birth and death years, their vocations, and the statement that New Directions published them in the United States. Ethan Mordden, WSJ, "‘The Luck of Friendship’ Review: Dear Playwright, Dear Publisher," 9 Mar. 2018 So there is our celebration, much of it biblically inspired, even if not always footnoted. Rick Hamlin And Bloomberg, charlotteobserver, "Where we get gifts, and lights, and angels for Christmas | Charlotte Observer," 22 Dec. 2017 This point alone should be a lodestar of the hearings: Elections matter for the court, even if most of what the court does is obfuscated and footnoted. Neil S. Siegel, Slate Magazine, "The Democrats Can’t Block Gorsuch," 1 Feb. 2017 Based mainly on secondary sources, but thoroughly footnoted, Crawford’s book proceeds from curiosity to curiosity, often jumping back and forth between recent history and the distant past. The Washington Post, The Denver Post, "“Fallen Glory” surveys the world’s lost wonders and lesser structures," 20 Apr. 2017 Indeed, perhaps the only true consensus in the Trinity Lutheran decision is that its fragile and heavily footnoted majority will be tested soon. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "Travel ban, playground case bring a big finish to sleepy Supreme Court term," 26 June 2017 On Friday, after Mr. Shaub wrote a long and heavily footnoted letter to Mr. Mulvaney, the White House unexpectedly backed down. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "A Vocal Defender of Ethics Has Fans — and Foes," 30 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'footnote.' 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 footnote


1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1864, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for footnote

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for footnote

The first known use of footnote was in 1711

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More Definitions for footnote



English Language Learners Definition of footnote

: a note with added information that is placed below the text on a printed page

: someone or something that is remembered or regarded as a minor or unimportant part of an event, work, etc.


foot·​note | \ ˈfu̇t-ˌnōt \

Kids Definition of footnote

: a note at the bottom of a page

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More from Merriam-Webster on footnote

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with footnote

Spanish Central: Translation of footnote

Nglish: Translation of footnote for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of footnote for Arabic Speakers

Comments on footnote

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someone who never drinks alcohol

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