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Alternative forms[edit]


From foot +‎ note.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈfʊtˌnəʊt/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈfʊtˌnoʊt/
  • (file)


footnote (plural footnotes)

  1. A short piece of text, often numbered, placed at the bottom of a printed page, that adds a comment, citation, reference etc, to a designated part of the main text.
    Coordinate terms: headnote, endnote, hatnote, marginal note
    consult the footnotes for more details
    • 1960 December, “The Glasgow Suburban Electrification is opened”, in Trains Illustrated, page 714:
      Above all, the 48-page timetables of the new service, which have been distributed free at every station in the scheme, are a model to the rest of B.R. For the first time on British Railways, so far as we are aware, a substantial timetable has been produced, not only without a single footnote but also devoid of all wearisome asterisks, stars, letter suffixes and other hieroglyphics.
  2. (by extension) An event of lesser importance than some larger event to which it is related.
    Synonym: asterisk
    a mere footnote in history
    • 2012, Martin McQuillan, Political Archive of Paul de Man, page 72:
      If we are another footnote to Plato, Plato was himself already a footnote to still earlier footnotes, in an endless chain of footnotes to footnotes
    • 2014 September 8, Michael White, “Roll up, roll up! The Amazing Salmond will show a Scotland you won't believe”, in The Guardian:
      In that context Scotland's fate is a modest element, a symptom of wider fragmentation of the current global order, a footnote to the fall of empire and the Berlin Wall, important to us and punchdrunk neighbours like France and Italy, a mere curiosity to emerging titans like Brazil.
  3. A qualification to the import of something.



footnote (third-person singular simple present footnotes, present participle footnoting, simple past and past participle footnoted)

  1. To add footnotes to a text.
    Synonym: annotate
    • 1979 April 14, Nancy Walker, “Kiss and Tell”, in Gay Community News, page 13:
      She does everything she does with a kind of terrifying thoroughness, footnoted and bibliographied, as it were, down to the smallest detail.

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