cited; citing

transitive verb

: to call upon officially or authoritatively to appear (as before a court)
: to quote by way of example, authority, or proof
cites several noteworthy authors
: to refer to
especially : to mention formally in commendation or praise
She was cited for bravery.
: to name in a citation
cited by the trustees for his work in public health
: to bring forward or call to another's attention especially as an example, proof, or precedent
cited the weather as a reason for canceling the picnic
cited several studies that support his theory
citable adjective

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Cite, Sight, and Site

As homophones—words that sound alike but are distinct— cite, sight, and site are easily confused, but they have different meanings, uses, and origins.

Cite is most often encountered in the sense of "to name in a citation"—that is, a line or short section taken from a piece of writing or a speech; it may also mean "to mention as an example" or "to order to appear in a court of law." Cite is from the Latin citare, "to rouse, call on, summon," source too of citation and recite.

Most of the senses of sight are concerned with seeing. A wonderful spectacle might be described as a sight, as might the general capacity to see anything ("my sight is not as good as it once was"). Sight is also used in a number of fixed phrases, such as "out of sight, out of mind," "sight unseen," and "set one's sights on." Sight comes from Old English gesiht, meaning "the faculty or act of sight, thing seen."

Site is most often concerned with location; it is related to situate, "to locate," and situation, "relative position or combination of circumstances at a particular moment." A building site is the place where a building is, or will be, located. In contemporary English, site is frequently used as a shortened form of website, to refer to the location of a group of web pages. Site comes from Latin situs, meaning "place, position, site."

Associating citation with cite, eyesight with sight, and situate with site may be helpful in applying these correctly.

Choose the Right Synonym for cite

summon, call, cite, convoke, convene, muster mean to demand the presence of.

summon implies the exercise of authority.

was summoned to answer charges

call may be used less formally for summon.

called the legislature into special session

cite implies a summoning to court usually to answer a charge.

cited for drunken driving

convoke implies a summons to assemble for deliberative or legislative purposes.

convoked a Vatican council

convene is somewhat less formal than convoke.

convened the students

muster suggests a calling up of a number of things that form a group in order that they may be exhibited, displayed, or utilized as a whole.

mustered the troops

Examples of cite in a Sentence

The article cites several experts on the subject. The museum had often been cited as an example of successful fund-raising. He cited evidence suggesting she was in the area when the crime was committed. She was cited for reckless driving.
Recent Examples on the Web Martin Scorsese will no longer attend nor participate in the Marrakech Film Festival’s Atlas Workshops, citing personal reasons. Ben Croll, Variety, 25 Nov. 2023 The official, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject. Mary Ilyushina, Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2023 Tom Barkin, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, cited the not-in-my-backyard crowd in a speech to the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference in Hampton, Va., according to the ResiClub housing news service. Jonathan Lansner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Nov. 2023 Finnish authorities cited Section 16 of the country’s Border Guard Act, which allows closures to prevent a threat to national security and public order. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 24 Nov. 2023 In order to receive a dairy milk substitute, a student is required to provide a note from a doctor or parent citing a medical or dietary need to restrict the student’s choice of milk. Melissa Gomez, Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2023 Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed; in August, Billboard cited sources claiming the deal could be worth $1.7 billion. Evan Minsker, Pitchfork, 22 Nov. 2023 The rocket flew normally along the preset flight track, and the satellite entered orbit at 10:54 p.m., KCNA said, citing North Korea’s space agency. Stella Kim, NBC News, 22 Nov. 2023 For this iconic dish, often cited as a staple in blogs about local food, rice is slowly simmered in a stock made with fish scraps and topped with fish filets cooked with butter and sage. Vittoria Traverso, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cite.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French citer to cite, summon, from Latin citare to put in motion, rouse, summon, from frequentative of ciēre to stir, move — more at -kinesis

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cite was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near cite

Cite this Entry

“Cite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


cited; citing
: to summon to appear before a court
: to quote as an example, authority, or proof
: to refer to especially in praise

Legal Definition


transitive verb
cited; citing
: to demand the appearance of in court : serve with a citation
had been cited for contempt
you are hereby cited to show cause in the Probate Court
: to quote or refer to as a precedent or authority
the plaintiff cites several cases for the proposition

Latin citare to rouse, call on, summon

More from Merriam-Webster on cite

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