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c.1300, "summons, written notice to appear," from Old French citation or directly from Latin citationem (nominative citatio) "a command," noun of action from past participle stem of citare "to summon, urge, call; put in sudden motion, call forward; rouse, excite" (see cite). Meaning "passage cited, quotation" is from 1540s. From 1918 as "a mention in an official dispatch."