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

Evenwel seemed destined to be a footnote in legal history. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The War to Empower Rural White Voters Is Bigger Than Trump," 9 July 2019 So a team that’s stride for stride with the Astros and Yankees for AL supremacy will be, more or less, a footnote on the game’s second-biggest stage. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Xander Bogaerts, Max Muncy among the biggest MLB All-Star Game snubs," 26 June 2019 Koepka had to settle for a footnote in history as the first player to record four rounds in the 60s at the U.S Open without winning. Fox News, "US-China trade war - and its impact - to be on display; AOC has warning for Dems," 17 June 2019 Koepka, a Cardinal Newman graduate who grew up in West Palm Beach, had to settle for a footnote in history as the first player with all four rounds in the 60s at the U.S Open without winning. Doug Ferguson,, "Koepka just short of U.S. Open 3-peat as fellow Palm Beach County resident Woodland hangs on," 17 June 2019 Givner, who wrote the book with public relations consultant Cherie Kerr, is a giant-sized footnote in the Watergate scandal. Keith Sharon, The Mercury News, "The man who stayed late: The Watergate story you’ve never heard," 17 June 2019 Koepka had to settle for a footnote in history as the first player with all four rounds in the 60s at the U.S Open without winning. Doug Ferguson, The Denver Post, "Gary Woodland denies history with U.S. Open title at Pebble Beach," 16 June 2019 Tesla's executives also spoke about the company's solar-roof project, which tends to be a footnote to the company's more popular vehicle business. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "At Tesla shareholder meeting, Musk assures “there is not a demand problem”," 12 June 2019 The graphic in an earlier version of this story didn’t mention the repeal in footnotes. Jennifer Calfas, WSJ, "Plastic Bans: What You Need to Know," 22 June 2019

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.

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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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Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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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 How to pronounce footnote (audio) \

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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characterized by aphorism

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