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

b : commentary sense 3a


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

But the Rangers couldn’t make that stand and Hamilton’s homer became a footnote as the Cardinals took Game 7 to win the series. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Dirk, Hamilton, Irvin, Bonds. Sports' greatest individual performances for naught," 3 June 2018 But even that was a footnote on a day that belonged to Tanaka. Wallace Matthews, New York Times, "Tanaka Tames Mike Trout and the Yankees’ Offense Does the Rest," 27 May 2018 In 2016 expenses were incurred by one of Donald J. Trump’s attorneys, Michael Cohen,’’ Trump reported in a footnote to his official Personal Financial Disclosure report, required of top federal officials. ‘‘Mr., "Trump reports apparent Daniels reimbursement in disclosure filing," 17 May 2018 Women’s stories get treated as one of Wallace’s trademark footnotes might be: decorative, dexterous, whimsical, trivial. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The World Still Spins Around Male Genius," 9 May 2018 After 2½ years as a magic address, the original Fillmore was a footnote. Christopher Reynolds,, "Grab an apple and enter the Fillmore, San Francisco’s cradle of psychedelia that continues to rock," 3 May 2018 The oddest footnote to the incident is that it wasn’t recorded as a hit-by-pitch. Craig Davis,, "Latest drama between Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Fiers shows feelings about 2014 beaning still linger," 5 June 2018 The interview was published this week and the footnote said it was done before the May 3 Academy decision. Monika Scislowska,, "Filmmaker Roman Polanski calls #MeToo 'collective hysteria'," 9 May 2018 The footnote in the Office of Legal Counsel opinion applies to witnesses in trials, not people providing evidence in an investigation. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Can Robert Mueller subpoena Donald Trump? Only the Supreme Court would know for sure," 2 May 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

24 Sep 2018

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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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Comments on footnote

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