an explanatory or documenting note or comment at the bottom of a page, referring to a specific part of the text on the page.
a minor or tangential comment or event added or subordinated to a main statement or more important event.
verb (used with object), footnoted, footnoting.
to add a footnote or footnotes to (a text, statement, etc.); annotate: to footnote a dissertation.

1835–45; foot + note Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
footnote (ˈfʊtˌnəʊt)
1.  a note printed at the bottom of a page, to which attention is drawn by means of a reference mark in the body of the text
2.  an additional comment, as to a main statement
3.  (tr) to supply (a page, book, etc) with footnotes

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1841, from foot + note.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
As a general practice, give the references in parenthesis or in footnotes, not
  in the body of the sentence.
The primary author index encourages tracing the evolution of quotations over
  time via thousands of hyperlinked footnotes.
The chances are good that you'll find it, probably buried deep in the footnotes.
So are scholarly footnotes, with their numbered links between the main body of
  the text and supplementary scholarship.
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