If you hear you’re getting a citation, wait before bragging about it. A citation can be an official award, but it can also mean something less thrilling, like a summons to appear in court.
If you climb a tree and rescue a frightened cat, the mayor might present you with a citation for bravery. If you're hurrying to the ceremony and your mom speeds and gets a traffic citation, her insurance company might raise her premiums. Citation comes from the Latin citationem, which means “to call forward.” You can think of the mayor calling you forward to receive your plaque, or the judge calling your mom forward to receive her fine. A citation can also be a quote, like a passage in a newspaper article describing your cat-saving feat as "an act of heroism."