1. A mark or token by which a thing may be known; a visible sign; a character; a distinctive mark or feature; a characteristic quality. "Whosoever appertain to the visible body of the church, they have also the notes of external profession." (Hooker) "She [the Anglican church] has the note of possession, the note of freedom from party titles,the note of life a tough life and a vigorous." (J. H. Newman) "What a note of youth, of imagination, of impulsive eagerness, there was through it all !" (Mrs. Humphry Ward)
3. A brief remark; a marginal comment or explanation; hence, an annotation on a text or author; a comment; a critical, explanatory, or illustrative observation. "The best writers have been perplexed with notes, and obscured with illustrations." (Felton)
5. Hence, a writing intended to be used in speaking; memoranda to assist a speaker, being either a synopsis, or the full text of what is to be said; as, to preach from notes; also, a reporter's memoranda; the original report of a speech or of proceedings.
A key of the piano or organ. "The wakeful bird . . . Tunes her nocturnal note." (Milton) "That note of revolt against the eighteenth century, which we detect in Goethe, was struck by Winckelmann." (W. Pater)
Origin: F. Note, L. Nota; akin to noscere, notum, to know. See Know.
(01 Mar 1998)
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