To cite something means to do right by whoever said it and give them credit — for instance, if you add a brilliant statement to a paper but you’re not the one who originally wrote it, you should cite, or point to, the original author.

Using cite with the meaning "to reference" or "to note" is just one of several similar uses. A military or other official report can cite someone for an outstanding act of service, and a legal representative can cite individuals, or summon them, to show up in court. To cite a source when writing or verbally repeating something first spoken by someone else is to give a "citation" or "notation" that gives credit where credit is due.

Definitions of cite
  1. verb
    make reference to
    synonyms: advert, bring up, mention, name, refer
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    commend, remember
    mention as by way of greeting or to indicate friendship
    speak of the devil
    mention someone's name who just then appears
    mention favorably, as in prayer
    refer to for illustration or proof
    touch on
    refer to or discuss briefly
    appeal, invoke
    cite as an authority; resort to
    refer to people that one assumes one's interlocutors admire in order to try to impress them
    bring up, raise
    put forward for consideration or discussion
    drag up, dredge up
    mention something unpleasant from the past
    refer from one entry to another, as in catalogues, books, and lists
    type of:
    have in mind, mean, think of
    intend to refer to
  2. verb
    refer to
    synonyms: reference
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    type of:
    compose, indite, pen, write
    produce a literary work
  3. verb
    refer to for illustration or proof
    synonyms: quote
    repeat a passage from
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    type of:
    advert, bring up, mention, name, refer
    make reference to
  4. verb
    advance evidence for
    synonyms: abduce, adduce
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    type of:
    bear witness, evidence, prove, show, testify
    provide evidence for
  5. verb
    repeat a passage from
    synonyms: quote
    refer to for illustration or proof
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    quote incorrectly
    type of:
    ingeminate, iterate, reiterate, repeat, restate, retell
    to say, state, or perform again
  6. noun
    a short note recognizing a source of information or of a quoted passage
    synonyms: acknowledgment, citation, 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)
  7. verb
    “he was cited for his outstanding achievements”
    synonyms: mention
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    type of:
    acknowledge, notice
    express recognition of the presence or existence of, or acquaintance with
  8. verb
    call in an official matter, such as to attend court
    synonyms: summon, summons
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    summon (a vouchee) into court to warrant or defend a title
    summon to court
    type of:
    call, send for
    order, request, or command to come
Commonly confused words

cite / site / sight

All are good for research papers: cite is short for citation, site is a place, and sight is what your eyeballs are for. The Web has a lot to answer for, good and bad. One item in the minus column is the increased popularity of site and people throwing these sound-alikes all over the place!

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Word Family

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