[ an-uh-teyt ]
/ ˈæn əˌteɪt /

verb (used with object), an·no·tat·ed, an·no·tat·ing.

to supply with critical or explanatory notes; comment upon in notes: to annotate the works of Shakespeare.

verb (used without object), an·no·tat·ed, an·no·tat·ing.

to make annotations or notes.



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Origin of annotate

1725–35; <Latin annotātus noted down (past participle of annotāre), equivalent to an-an-2 + notātus noted, marked; see note, -ate1


an·no·ta·tive, an·no·ta·to·ry [an-uh-tey-tuh-ree, -tuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee; uh-noh-tuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee], /ˈæn əˌteɪ tə ri, -təˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i; əˈnoʊ təˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectivean·no·ta·tor, nouno·ver·an·no·tate, verb, o·ver·an·no·tat·ed, o·ver·an·no·tat··an·no·tate, verb, re·an·no·tat·ed, re·an·no·tat·ing. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does annotate mean?

To annotate is to add notes or comments to a text or something similar to provide explanation or criticism about a particular part of it.

Such notes or comments are called annotations. Annotation can also refer to the act of annotating.

Annotations are often added to scholarly articles or to literary works that are being analyzed. But any text can be annotated. For example, a note that you scribble in the margin of your textbook is an annotation, as is an explanatory comment that you add to a list of tasks at work.

Something that has had such notes added to it can be described with the adjective annotated, as in This is the annotated edition of the book. 

Example: I like to annotate the books I’m reading by writing my thoughts in the margins.

Where does annotate come from?

The first records of the word annotate come from the 1700s. (Annotation is recorded much earlier, in the 1400s.) Annotate derives from the Latin annotātus, which means “noted down” and comes from the Latin verb annotāre. At the root of the word is the Latin nota, which means “mark” and is also the basis of the English word note.

Typically, text is annotated in order to add explanation, criticism, analysis, or historical perspective. The word can be used in more specific ways in different contexts. In an annotated bibliography, each citation is annotated with a summary or other information. In computer programming, strings of code can be annotated with explanatory notes. In genomics, gene sequences can be annotated with interpretations of genes and their possible functions. In all cases, the word refers to adding some kind of extra information to an existing thing.

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What are some other forms related to annotate?

  • annotation (noun)
  • annotated (past tense verb, adjective)
  • annotative (adjective)
  • annotatory (adjective)
  • annotator (noun)
  • reannotate (verb)

What are some synonyms for annotate?

What are some words that share a root or word element with annotate


What are some words that often get used in discussing annotate?

How is annotate used in real life?

Annotate is most commonly used in the context of academic and literary works.



Try using annotate!

Which of the following things can be annotated?

A. a classic novel
B. a scholarly article
C. a grocery list
D. all of the above

Example sentences from the Web for annotate

British Dictionary definitions for annotate

/ (ˈænəʊˌteɪt, ˈænə-) /


to supply (a written work, such as an ancient text) with critical or explanatory notes

Derived forms of annotate

annotatable, adjectiveannotative, adjectiveannotator, noun

Word Origin for annotate

C18: from Latin annotāre, from nota mark
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012