from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A note placed at the bottom of a page of a book or manuscript that comments on or cites a reference for a designated part of the text.
  • noun Something related to but of lesser importance than a larger work or occurrence.
  • transitive verb To furnish with or comment on in footnotes.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In printing, a note at the bottom of a page as an appendage to something in the text, usually explaining a passage in the text, or specifying authority for a statement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A note of reference or comment at the foot{4} of a page.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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
  • noun by extension An event of lesser importance than some larger event to which it is related
  • verb To add footnotes to a text; to annotate

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb add explanatory notes to or supply with critical comments
  • noun a printed note placed below the text on a printed page


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Finally, the economic character of purchasing health care would seem to require careful pause before considering it to be encompassed within the right to privacy, as the very sentence this footnote is appended to: “[T] he existence of facts supporting the legislative judgment is to be presumed, for regulatory legislation affecting ordinary commercial transactions is not to be pronounced unconstitutional unless, in the light of the facts made known or generally assumed, it is of such a character as to preclude the assumption that it rests upon some rational basis within the knowledge and experience of the legislators.”

    The Volokh Conspiracy » New lawsuit on Obamacare

  • See also the sources cited in footnote 2 (page 2 of the PDF).

    Matthew Yglesias » Too Much Prison

  • One of them sat on my couch the other day hooked up to tubes and suctions and a giant deconstructed bra, looking like some fetish ad, or a footnote from the Josef Mengele years.

    The Case Against Breast-Feeding

  • Another interesting footnote from the research is that while DSL is the most popular access technology at 65 percent, fiber has doubled to 12 percent during 2008, driven in part by demand for services such as IPTV that require faster speeds.

    Stat Shot: IPTV Growing Broadband Slowing

  • One of them sat on my couch the other day hooked up to tubes and suctions and a giant deconstructed bra, looking like some fetish ad, or a footnote from the Josef Mengele years.

    The Case Against Breast-Feeding

  • This of course would be wrong. if you look at the CBPP piece though the asterisk for the vague footnote is in the nominal $ column and not the % of GDP column, indicating that the authors are in fact discounting nominal numbers using nominal interest rates (as they should).

    The Budget Debate, VI, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • (Gibbon tells us, in footnote 47 to chapter III, that he actually gave public philosophy lectures, as Emperor, in Rome, Greece and Asia; presumably we have here some of the raw materials for those lectures.)

    October Books 21) Year's Best SF 7, edited by David G. Hartwell

  • Nonetheless, the text of the footnote is clear on one point: the Court did not mean to overturn or modify the enrolled bill rule of Marshall Field.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Does Marshall Field v. Clark Preclude a Challenge to “Deem and Pass”?

  • NOTE: A point that I wanted to raise in my last post, in the second footnote, is that in Avatar, form supports and mirrors the story and its central themes -- one of which is to "see" differently, to look with a new perspective.

    Will You Go See Avatar?

  • Finally, having read the Third and Eleventh Circuit cases cited in footnote 166, neither holds as a matter of precedent that ordinary standards of appellate review applies.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » A Crime Victim’s Right to Appellate Review?


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  • I once ran across an article with hilarious footnotes. The first twenty were completely serious, then the author started testing his luck. The editor either never caught them, or thought that they were too funny to cut. I need to see if I can find that one....

    May 12, 2007

  • I used to get a chuckle out of some of Mark Twain's footnotes. You'd have a story's dialogue written in a thick, nearly unreadable Deep South accent, and then instead of clarifying what any of it means, he chooses the most standard words you already know to footnote with definitions.

    May 14, 2007

  • There h'aint nothin' wrawng wit' uh Deep South ak sent.

    May 14, 2007

  • Ah's jezt gon t'say yew h'aint done finched writing1 t'other pawrt o'yer quotayshun, hun.

    1To clarify: the word writing refers in this instance to the act of transcribing words for the sake of communication.

    May 14, 2007

  • Ouch. Ow. That hurts my ears! I live too far north! ;-)

    While youz guys are at it, you might want to test yourselves here:

    May 15, 2007

  • 38% Dixie. I am definitely a Yankee. :-)

    May 15, 2007

  • You're 1% more Dixie than I am. Must have had a Coke for breakfast. ;-)

    May 15, 2007

  • 5% Dixie. Need help digging out of the snow?

    I love the "tonic" one. Answer: Massachusetts!

    May 15, 2007

  • The funny thing is, I grew up in Southwest Florida. One of few places in the U.S. that's actually further south than the Deep South. In my stomping grounds, everybody's a transplant from the North, retired or snowbirding for the most part. So even though my speech pinpoints me to the midwest or New England, I'm really from the Sunshine State.

    (In fairness, I was born in Michigan but my family moved when I was a tyke. I'm sure I picked up a lot of speech tendencies from the parents though.)

    May 15, 2007

  • Yep, it's an interesting test, all right. I've lived in the Northeast my whole life, but apparently have picked up Midwest and Southern speech patterns and phrases. I suppose it's not all that surprising when you consider how easy it is to interact with people worldwide these days while still sitting on your butt in your own chair. :-)

    By the way, when I took the "advanced" test on that page, I came up only 1% Dixie. Go figure.

    May 15, 2007