foot·​note | \ ˈfu̇t-ˌnōt How to pronounce footnote (audio) \

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

In some editions Friday, source information and footnotes for a graphic with a Business & Finance article about Huawei Technologies Co.’s suppliers were omitted. WSJ, "Corrections & Amplifications," 20 May 2019 The change is no small footnote: the move from Ubuntu 16.04 to 18.04 means a completely new desktop, GNOME 3, a major revamp of underlying technologies (more modern GTK libraries), and a new, very different user interface to contend with. Scott Gilbertson, Ars Technica, "The 2018 XPS 13 Developer’s Edition—Have it your way on a “just works” Linux laptop," 12 Dec. 2018 As those numbers creep upward, a bittersweet footnote has emerged: Since 2000, the number of organs donated by overdose victims has increased 24-fold, now accounting for 10% of all donations from deceased individuals. Jamie Ducharme, Fortune, "There’s a National Donor Organ Shortage. Overdose Victims Could Help Change That," 16 Apr. 2018 And yet, despite its extreme location, Arctic conditions and the site of the first horrific banzai charge of the war, history has relegated the Aleutian campaign to a footnote amid bigger conflicts in the Pacific, Garfield wrote. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "Thousands of Japanese fought in a bloody World War II battle for the Aleutians. Only 28 survived.," 24 May 2018 Designers without big corporate backing or luxury contracts can be written away, go unmentioned in footnotes, and not celebrated in exhibitions. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Rick Owens Loves Larry LeGaspi—And You Should Too," 23 Jan. 2019 The most famous ship to ever sink in the area wasthe HMS Fox, a footnote in the early, tense history of England and America, which met its demise a century prior in 1799. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Hurricane Michael Unearths Ships Destroyed in 1899 Hurricane," 22 Oct. 2018 England's 7-1 win over San Marino in their final qualifying game - in which the minnows took a shock lead - was no more than a footnote., "World Cup Countdown: 6 Weeks to Go - Why England Failed to Qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup," 14 May 2018 Miscarriage, however, had been only a footnote in my reading. Redbook, "The Shadow Side of Motherhood," 30 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Lately, the sweep of reductive history has elevated Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein and Herbert von Karajan to almost mythic status, leaving the other great conductors of the 20th century as footnotes that only specialist collectors care about. Allan Kozinn, WSJ, "‘George Szell: The Complete Columbia Album Collection’ Review: A Maestro’s Time in Cleveland Still Shines," 22 Aug. 2018 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.

See More

First Known Use of footnote


1711, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1864, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about footnote

Statistics for footnote

Last Updated

4 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for footnote

The first known use of footnote was in 1711

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce footnote (audio) \

Kids Definition of footnote

: a note at the bottom of a page

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!