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."

Definitions of citation
  1. noun
    an official award (as for bravery or service) usually given as formal public statement
    synonyms: commendation
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    type of:
    accolade, award, honor, honour, laurels
    a tangible symbol signifying approval or distinction
  2. noun
    a short note recognizing a source of information or of a quoted passage
    “the student's essay failed to list several important citations
    synonyms: acknowledgment, cite, credit, mention, quotation, reference
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    photo credit
    a note acknowledging the source of a published photograph
    cross-index, cross-reference
    a reference at one place in a work to information at another place in the same work
    type of:
    annotation, notation, note
    a comment or instruction (usually added)
  3. noun
    a passage or expression that is quoted or cited
    synonyms: quotation, quote
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    a quotation at the beginning of some piece of writing
    the representation of another person's words in a speech
    misquotation, misquote
    an incorrect quotation
    type of:
    excerpt, excerption, extract, selection
    a passage selected from a larger work
  4. noun
    (law) the act of citing (as of spoken words or written passages or legal precedents etc.)
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    type of:
    speech act
    the use of language to perform some act
  5. noun
    a summons that commands the appearance of a party at a proceeding
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    type of:
    process, summons
    a writ issued by authority of law; usually compels the defendant's attendance in a civil suit; failure to appear results in a default judgment against the defendant
Word Family

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