Definition of marginalia in US English:


plural noun

  • Marginal notes.

    ‘the book was covered with marginalia’
    figurative ‘you will be relegated to the marginalia of political life’
    • ‘Howe is a poet-archaeologist who writes poems by seizing on a word, phrase, or even the marginalia of a writer and excavating it for a half-seen or half-forgotten meaning.’
    • ‘When he wrote marginalia into a German book published in Roman type, he composed the notes in Roman script (which I can read and translate).’
    • ‘Jackson takes us through several case studies of marginalia - from Coleridge's many annotations to anonymous comments in library copies.’
    • ‘I'll fail, but with vital qualifications that need to be explored in depth, probably with footnotes, addenda and marginalia.’
    • ‘Do marginalia, cross-references and concordances offer models, or at least starting points, for thinking about the hypertext of the Web?’
    • ‘I've always thought that some illuminated manuscripts resemble a hypertext (rubrications, etc.), particularly those that acquired marginalia from later users.’
    • ‘Manuscript marginalia certainly suggest that readers approached these texts with ideas of usefulness, and application in mind.’
    • ‘It is becoming clear to me it's the handwritten marginalia at issue, not the versions, since these would probably be available from computers, etc.’
    • ‘Patent researchers note that the marginalia will be lost in the process and fear that computer access will not be as complete as the present paper system.’
    • ‘I just finished it and I usually put marginalia in a book but, let me tell you, I had to get extra pages to write on.’
    • ‘I grew up reading novels with his marginalia, his underlinings, his traces.’
    • ‘There were learned papers on Oakeshott's marginalia on Kant, his epistemological separatism, his temporal solipsism, and even his Confucianism.’
    • ‘Today I leave for three more days of research on the marginalia in the personal library of Wisconsin's world-class poet, Lorine Niedecker.’
    • ‘In December of 2003, I spent a week at the library examining Niedecker's books and recording the marginalia I found into the library's database.’
    • ‘Harvey's extraordinarily wide range of interests is reflected in the marginalia beautifully written in the books he owned.’
    • ‘Whatever it was that I was looking at in a particular piece - first editions, marginalia, browsing - the underlying refrain has always been the Indian book lover's relationship to books.’
    • ‘I read Hegel against the grain; proceeding from certain footnotes and marginalia in the texts, I move toward recovering the history of those which the dialectic leaves behind.’
    • ‘Being able to take notes and jot marginalia onto the presentation slides on the fly would be excellent.’
    annotation, jotting, inscription, comment, footnote, entry, minute, record, item, memo, gloss, explanation, explication, elucidation
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: from medieval Latin, neuter plural of marginalis, from margo, margin- (see margin).