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

Noun a movement now regarded as a footnote to history
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The car didn’t deserve so much as a mention in the entire 250 page-plus annual report, not even a footnote. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, "Mercedes-Benz unveils the new EQS sedan, its flagship electric car," 15 Apr. 2021 In combination, the sentence and footnote suggest—certainly to the man on the street—that Scott would have been sent to prison for between 0 and 10 years had the en banc majority not stepped in. The Insider, Forbes, "The Man On The Street And The Layperson With Common Sense," 15 Apr. 2021 His paper, The New Times, and the African American press, including publications like Jet magazine, elevated the death of Michael Donald from a local footnote to a national headline -- pressuring the successful prosecutions of Michael's killers. Cornell William Brooks, CNN, "The lessons of Beulah Mae Donald, the mother who took down the Klan," 11 Apr. 2021 Kemp signed the law with six white men by his side and a painting of a former slave plantation behind him, a footnote that by itself should be worthy of commentary from some Georgia leader, sometime. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Chairman misses opportunity to put Masters on right side of history," 7 Apr. 2021 While each of these may be an odd footnote in the book of American performance cars, each has its own appealing attributes, and in the case of the 1969 AMX California 500 Special especially, a serious collector following. Robert Ross, Robb Report, "Car of the Week: AMC’s 1969 AMX California 500 Special Is an Obscure American Muscle Car Worth Remembering," 12 Apr. 2021 At the time, the fate of Cayo Santiago and its inhabitants was barely a footnote in the dramatic story of Maria, which became Puerto Rico’s worst natural disaster, killing 3,000 people and disrupting normal life for months. Lydia Denworth, Scientific American, "What Monkeys Can Teach Humans about Resilience after Disaster," 8 Apr. 2021 Tom Brady’s baseball background is now merely a footnote in what has become a historic football career, but the 43-year-old revisited it on Thursday in an April Fool’s Day joke amid MLB opening day., "Tom Brady throws a good one out there for April Fool’s Day," 1 Apr. 2021 Should that be the case, Indiana can take pride in being a footnote to that tale. Jeremy Price, The Indianapolis Star, "IU women: 'We got a taste of it, all of us are going to be hungry for more'," 30 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb His argument is sophisticated and footnoted, but jargon-free and illustrated in a way that helps even readers with no economic training to follow it. The Economist, "The case for migration—in pictures," 12 Dec. 2019 That makes much of the display feel less like rewriting history than simply footnoting more thoroughly., "The Brancusi gallery at the Museum of Modern Art.," 18 Oct. 2019 Each section comes heavily footnoted, indicating the appearance of traditional folk tale motifs — taboos, odd coincidences. Parul Sehgal, New York Times, "‘In the Dream House’ Recounts an Abusive Relationship Using Dozens of Genres," 29 Oct. 2019 For instance, a recent booking at a local beach resort hotel was footnoted in the small print as having a $50-a-night fee for any vehicle brought to the property. Los Angeles Times, "Feedback: Readers lash out at resort fees," 17 Aug. 2019 Those who bothered to read all four hundred and forty-eight pages discovered a gripping document, painstakingly footnoted and verified. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "“Accountability”? The Mueller Hearing Is How Trump Escapes It," 24 July 2019 Given that data analytics have changed under the new standard, investors need to look beyond financial statement footnotes to grasp the proper disclosures, Ms. Peters said. Mark Maurer, WSJ, "New Lease Accounting Standard May Mislead Investors, Credit Suisse Says," 10 July 2019 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

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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The first known use of footnote was in 1711

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Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Footnote.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce footnote (audio) \

Kids Definition of footnote

: a note at the bottom of a page

Comments on footnote

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