no·​ta·​tion | \nō-ˈtā-shən \

Definition of notation 

2a : the act, process, method, or an instance of representing by a system or set of marks, signs, figures, or characters

b : a system of characters, symbols, or abbreviated expressions used in an art or science or in mathematics or logic to express technical facts or quantities

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Other Words from notation

notational \ nō-​ˈtā-​shnəl , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms for notation


jotting, memo, memorandum, note

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Examples of notation in a Sentence

a mathematical notation for computer programming he had scribbled his notation so quickly I couldn't read it

Recent Examples on the Web

What if that was more a notation than a definition? Chris White, The Courier-Journal, "Think paying players is making a mess of college basketball? Wait until coaches are named," 24 Feb. 2018 Written notations for many ballets do exist, at least in partial form, but mostly they are ignored, on the theory that dance is a living, breathing art form, always changing. New York Times, "In ‘Harlequinade,’ Gestures Dance, and Dances Tell Stories," 29 May 2018 The filing of the document in the involuntary bankruptcy suit cost $1,717.00 according to a handwritten notation on Tobin's paperwork. Maeve Reston, CNN, "Exclusive: How a 'nobody' ex-con pushed Avenatti law firm into bankruptcy," 1 June 2018 In response to an AJC question about why the notations were omitted, the city said Baker Donelson was not providing the city with criminal defense services. Stephen Deere, ajc, "Atlanta’s legal bills related to corruption probe top $7.5M, AJC finds," 28 June 2018 Photo: ©Alberto Giacometti Estate/VAGA and ARS, NY/Fondation Giacometti, Paris It also offers long vistas in which Giacometti’s lithe bronze figures activate Wright’s architecture like drawings or musical notation. Lance Esplund, WSJ, "‘Giacometti’ Review: Beyond a Retrospective," 19 June 2018 Most of the pictures in the archive have handwritten notations on the reverse, according to Aldridge. James Rogers, Fox News, "Never-before-seen Winston Churchill WWII photos surface," 13 July 2018 The common bond between the two — a certain looseness in the notation — is more conceptual than sonic, so the interlocking strains don’t always have a lot to say to each other in performance. Joshua Kosman,, "CD review: ‘Codex’ by Bruce Brubaker," 11 July 2018 Placeholder notation is what allows us to easily add, subtract, and otherwise manipulate numbers. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The mind-bendy weirdness of the number zero, explained," 5 July 2018

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

1584, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for notation

Latin notation-, notatio, from notare to note

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Dictionary Entries near notation

not a sausage

not at all






Statistics for notation

Last Updated

31 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for notation

The first known use of notation was in 1584

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English Language Learners Definition of notation

: a system of marks, signs, figures, or characters that is used to represent information


no·​ta·​tion | \nō-ˈtā-shən \

Kids Definition of notation

1 : the act of noting

2 : note entry 2 sense 5 He made notations on a paper.

3 : a system of signs, marks, or figures used to give a certain kind of information musical notation scientific notation

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