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Text that appears at the bottom of a page that adds explanation. It is often used to give credit to the source of information. When accumulated and printed at the end of a document, they are called "endnotes."
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a supplementary printed text; an explanation, source reference, or editor’s comment located at the bottom of a page or column and separated from the main text by a straight line. Footnotes are printed in a smaller type size and are preceded by a sign (a number or asterisk) corresponding to the sign following the statement in the main text that is being elucidated. Footnotes are numbered continuously or by chapter or section.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The impact of excessive footnoting on the actual substance of texts may be even more significant than the stylistic deficiencies it creates.
Despite its abundance, student editors generally do not notice the political dimension of footnoting, partially because of their naivety but also because of their recent experiences in first-year legal writing courses which generally stress honest authentication in legal writing.
(119) Were the political dynamic of footnoting more apparent, students could actively choose whether to employ or bypass such a strategy in their own writing without feeling the pressure to air out the text with large amounts of footnotes.
On the one hand, authorial anxieties and tensions inhere in footnoting, providing legal scholarship with a profound capacity to maintain a presence in the official legal narrative.