[ an-uh-tey-shuhn ]
/ ˌæn əˈteɪ ʃən /
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a critical or explanatory note or body of notes added to a text.
the act of annotating.
note (def. 1). Abbreviation: annot.
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Origin of annotation

First recorded in 1425–75, annotation is from the Latin word annotātiōn- (stem of annotātiō). See annotate, -ion


re·an·no·ta·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does annotation mean?

An annotation is a note or comment added to a text to provide explanation or criticism about a particular part of it.

Annotation can also refer to the act of annotating—adding annotations.

Annotations are often added to scholarly articles or to literary works that are being analyzed. But the term can be used in a more general way to refer to a note added to any text. 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 as annotated.

The word annotation is sometimes abbreviated as annot. (which can also mean annotated or annotator).

Example: The annotations in this edition of the book really helped me to understand the historical context and the meanings of some obscure words.

Where does annotation come from?

The first records of the word annotation come from the 1400s. It derives from the Latin annotātus, meaning “noted down,” from the Latin nota, which means “mark” and is also the basis of the English word note.

Typically, annotations are used to comment on a text, such as by adding an explanation, criticism, analysis, or historical perspective. The word can be used in more specific ways in different contexts. In an annotated bibliography, an annotation is added to each citation. In computer programming, annotations are explanatory notes added to strings of code. In genomics, annotations involve interpretations of genes and their possible functions. In all cases, the word refers to some kind of extra information added to an existing thing.

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What are some other forms related to annotation?

What are some synonyms for annotation?

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


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


How is annotation used in real life?

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



Try using annotation!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of annotation?

A. comment
B. title
C. note
D. notation

How to use annotation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for annotation

/ (ˌænəʊˈteɪʃən, ˌænə-) /

the act of annotating
a note added in explanation, etc, esp of some literary work
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