Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Citation


What is the dictionary definition of Citation?

Dictionary Definition

  1. An official summons or notice given to a person to appear; the paper containing such summons or notice.
  2. The act of citing a passage from a book, or from another person, in his/her own words.
  3. An entry in a list of source(s) from which one took information, words or literary or verbal context.

n. 1) a notice to appear in court due to the probable commission of a minor crime such as a traffic violation, drinking liquor in a park where prohibited, letting a dog loose without a leash, and in some states for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Failure to appear can result in a warrant for the citee’s arrest. 2) a notice to appear in court in a civil matter in which the presence of a party appears necessary, usually required by statute, such as a person whose relatives wish to place him/her under a conservatorship (take over and manage his/her affairs). 3) the act of referring to (citing) a statute, precedent-setting case or legal textbook, in a brief (written legal court statement) or argument in court, called “citation of authority.” 4) the section of the statute or the name of the case, as well as the volume number, the report series and the page number of a case, referred to in a brief, points and authorities, or other legal argument. Example: United States vs. Wong Kim Ark, (1898) 169 U.S. 649, which is the name of the case, the year when decided, with the decision found at volume 169 of the United States [Supreme Court] Reporter at page 649. A citation also refers to the case itself, as in “counsel’s citation of the Wong case is not in point.

Full Definition of Citation

Citations can be criminal or civil, although a criminal citation has much more serious ramifications. A criminal citation is used in some jurisdictions for charging someone with a crime without the police making a physical arrest. The citation will generally state the date and time the defendant must appear in court. It will also list the defendant’s violations and explain their rights to appeal. The citation will explain the penalties assessed by the court, including court fines. At the hearing, the court will decide if there is probable cause to issue the criminal complaint.

Most criminal citations will require the defendant to sign the ticket and send it into the Clerk-Magistrate. On the back of the citation, it will indicate where it needs to be signed and dated. The citation should be sent to the court directly and not to the P.O. Box address. Criminal citations cannot be paid online, by telephone or through the mail (although some civil citations may be paid this way without a court appearance). Consider talking to a lawyer if you have questions about what to do after receiving a criminal citation. In some cases having a lawyer present at your hearing can improve your chances to have the case thrown out of court and avoid a criminal complaint.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Citation. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
August 17, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Citation. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: August 17, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Citation. Retrieved August 17, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Citation are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 26th April, 2020 | 0 Views.