[ sahyt ]
See synonyms for: citecitedcitesciting on

verb (used with object),cit·ed, cit·ing.
  1. to quote (a passage, book, author, etc.), especially as an authority: He cited the Constitution in his defense.

  2. to mention in support, proof, or confirmation; refer to as an example: He cited many instances of abuse of power.

  1. to summon officially or authoritatively to appear in court.

  2. to call to mind; recall: citing my gratitude to him.

  3. Military. to mention (a soldier, unit, etc.) in orders, as for gallantry.

  4. to commend, as for outstanding service, hard work, or devotion to duty.

  5. to summon or call; rouse to action.

Origin of cite

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, from Latin citāre “to hurry, set in motion, summon before a court,” frequentative of ciēre “to move, set in motion”

word story For cite

The English verb cite “to quote a passage; summon to appear in court, etc.” comes via Middle French citer “to summon (someone) to do something” from Latin citāre “to set in motion, rouse to action, summon, summon (an accused person) by name to appear, call on (a witness), summon (someone) for empanelment on a jury” (the Romans loved law and legal procedure).
Citāre is a frequentative verb from the simple verb ciēre “to move, call, rouse, excite, provoke (disturbances, war), call upon.” Ciēre derives from a variant stem of the Proto-Indo-European root kēi- “to set in motion, be in motion.” The Greek verb kíein “to start moving” (used only in poetry) is from the same variant.
Kī-n, another (suffixed) variant of kēi-, is the root of the Greek verb kineîn “to move, shake, drive, drive away,” with the derivative nouns kínēsis and kínēma. In English, kinesis is a term used in physiology for the movement of an organism in response to a stimulus, such as light; the English noun cinema is an expensive word for movie or movies or the movies.

Other words from cite

  • cit·a·ble, cite·a·ble, adjective
  • cit·er, noun
  • non·cit·a·ble, adjective
  • non·cite·a·ble, adjective
  • un·cit·a·ble, adjective
  • un·cite·a·ble, adjective
  • un·cit·ed, adjective

Words that may be confused with cite

Words Nearby cite

Other definitions for cite (2 of 2)

[ sahyt ]

Origin of cite

An Americanism dating back to 1940–45; by shortening Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cite in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cite


/ (saɪt) /

  1. to quote or refer to (a passage, book, or author) in substantiation as an authority, proof, or example

  2. to mention or commend (a soldier, etc) for outstanding bravery or meritorious action

  1. to summon to appear before a court of law

  2. to enumerate: he cited the king's virtues

Origin of cite

C15: from Old French citer to summon, from Latin citāre to rouse, from citus quick, from ciēre to excite

Derived forms of cite

  • citable or citeable, adjective
  • citer, noun

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