From Middle English quoten, coten (“to mark (a book) with chapter numbers or marginal references”), from Old French coter, from Medieval Latin quotāre (“to distinguish by numbers, number chapters”), itself from Latin quotus (“which, what number (in sequence)”), from quot (“how many”) and related to quis (“who”). The sense developed via “to give as a reference, to cite as an authority” to “to copy out exact words” (since 1680); the business sense “to state the price of a commodity” (1866) revives the etymological meaning. The noun, in the sense of “quotation,” is attested from 1885; see also usage note, below.
quote (plural quotes)
- A quotation, statement attributed to someone else.
- A quotation mark.
- A summary of work to be done with a set price.
- After going over the hefty quotes, the board decided it was cheaper to have the project executed by its own staff.
- A price set for a financial security or commodity.
Until the late 19th century, quote was exclusively used as a verb. Since then, it has been used as a shortened form of either quotation or quotation mark; see etymology, above. This use as a noun is well understood and widely used, although it is often rejected in formal and academic contexts.
- (transitive) To repeat someone’s exact words.
- (transitive) To prepare a summary of work to be done and set a price.
- (Commerce, transitive) To name the current price, notably of a financial security.
- (intransitive) To indicate verbally or by equivalent means the start of a quotation.
- (archaic) To observe, to take account of.
- 1598, John Marston, “Satyre IV”, in The Metamorphosis of Pigmalions Image, and Certaine Satyres (poem):
- But must our moderne Critticks envious eye
Seeme thus to quote some grosse deformity?
- 1600, Shakespeare, Hamlet:
- That hath made him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
I had not quoted him. I fear'd he did but trifle …
- (repeat words): cite
- first-person singular present indicative of
- third-person singular present indicative of
- first-person singular present subjunctive of
- third-person singular present subjunctive of
- second-person singular imperative of