v. quot·ed, quot·ing, quotes
a. To repeat or copy (words from a source such as a book), usually with acknowledgment of the source: quoted lines from Shakespeare in his lecture.
b. To repeat or copy the words of (a person or a book or other source): likes to quote Shakespeare when giving advice.
c. To cite or refer to for illustration or proof: quoted statistics to show she was right.
2. To repeat a brief passage or excerpt from: The saxophonist quoted a Duke Ellington melody in his solo.
3. To state (a price) for securities, goods, or services.
To give a quotation, as from a book.
1. A quotation.
2. A quotation mark.
3. Used by a speaker to indicate the beginning of a direct quotation: "He paused and said, quote, I don't care, unquote."
4. A dictum; a saying.
[Middle English coten, to mark a book with numbers or marginal references, from Old French coter, from Medieval Latin quotāre, to number chapters, from Latin quotus, of what number, from quot, how many; see kwo- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: People have been using the noun quote as a truncation of quotation for over one hundred years, and its use in less formal contexts is widespread today. Language critics have objected to this usage, however, as unduly journalistic or breezy, but the word appears to have gained acceptance. In our 2009 survey, 80 percent of the Usage Panel accepted the example He began the chapter with a quote from the Bible. The same percentage accepted He lightened up his talk by throwing in quotes from Marx Brothers movies. These results represent a much higher level of acceptance than in previous surveys. · People sometimes use quote as a synonym for "a dictum; a saying," as in His career is just one more validation of Andy Warhol's quote that "In the future, everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes." A majority of the Panel (albeit a smaller one) accepts this usage, too. In 2009, 60 percent accepted the Andy Warhol example. This is a dramatic increase over the mere 24 percent that accepted the same sentence in 1988.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.