Definition of notation in US English:



  • 1A series or system of written symbols used to represent numbers, amounts, or elements in something such as music or mathematics.

    ‘algebraic notation’
    • ‘Consequently, a simple point-and-click music notation system was the first thing I looked for.’
    • ‘Compounds can be represented in the chemical notation system.’
    • ‘Not only does the choir provide a vocal education, and a subsequent platform for performance, there is also an important focus on the comprehension of music notation and theory.’
    • ‘Much of science is based on fairly simple concepts shrouded in incomprehensible notation and mathematics.’
    • ‘‘Outro’, as opposed to intro, is a term which Merriam-Webster docs not recognize, but which is used as slang in music notation.’
    • ‘Many schools offer recorder tuition (a wonderfully inexpensive, although sometimes annoying, instrument) and this is a good way to enjoy playing in a group while learning music notation.’
    • ‘He has to name everything, but before being able to name, he has to recognize and classify concepts, to enclose the whole Universe in a system of notation: produce enumerations, hierarchies, and paradigms.’
    • ‘We discussed his patents (years earlier) on musical notation, allowing sheet music to be printed out by computers.’
    • ‘The very first programs were written in pure binary notation: Both data and instructions had to be encoded in long, featureless strings of 1s and 0s.’
    • ‘Globalisation has led to the system of notation to be used in Indian classical music, which will preserve music for longer.’
    • ‘There was no written music, but my father, since he had studied Western music, which is written on paper, got the idea to develop notation for Indian music too.’
    • ‘Their respective designers recognized the value of using one system of notation instead of many, so they joined together to create one language, UML.’
    • ‘This book is written in Aquitanian notation, a system of music writing that indicates precise intervals by arranging points and other marks on a series of horizontal lines.’
    • ‘Consider arithmetic expressions in Common Lisp, which must be written in prefix notation.’
    • ‘Familiarity with the rudiments of music notation and a certain degree of aural skills are important to the success of first-year music theory students, he says.’
    • ‘To think in these terms - clearly derived from popular music practice - is to question an almost universal precept of music education systems, that students need to learn to read and write in music notation.’
    • ‘They will also be aware that one main reason why the separate nature of the science of operations has been little felt, and in general little dwelt on, is the shifting meaning of many of the symbols used in mathematical notation.’
    • ‘Frege's 1879 concept notation gave a formal system that made it possible for logicians to come up with a strict definition of a proof.’
    • ‘Markings on bone plaques clearly represent systems of notation, perhaps even lunar calendars.’
    • ‘Music Ace Starter and Music Ace Deluxe are dynamic, effective, self-paced CD-ROM programs for learning such music fundamentals as pitch, rhythm, and written notation.’
    system of symbols, alphabet, syllabary, script
    View synonyms
  • 2A note or annotation.

    ‘he noticed the notations in the margin’
    • ‘Opening the leather bound book, he noticed small notations at the sides, and then realized he had picked the wrong journal.’
    • ‘He admits that these notations are not a part of the record.’
    • ‘I'd probably get in a notation on my permanent record for this.’
    • ‘Chanos attacked the documents, filling the margins with exclamation points and notations, and marking dubious footnotes with yellow Post-its.’
    • ‘The Wall Street Journal says notations on a State Department memo should have put readers on notice that they shouldn't share its contents.’
    • ‘It is difficult to track any supporting documentation for West's sources because there are no footnotes or notations.’
    • ‘The Commander examined the notations below the diagram.’
    • ‘When I encounter especially memorable statements, or those I intend to cite or refer to later, I underline them and put words and other notations (like stars) in the margin.’
    • ‘At the end, in the margin, small red notations caught Mallory's eye.’
    • ‘Note that the notation refers only to the initial placement of the ions/waters in the minor groove, but that all water and ions were free to move during the simulations.’
    • ‘Another 1,300 names were placed in an inactive file after letters came back with notations that forwarding addresses had expired.’
    • ‘She felt that the more the student relied on notations or recordings, the less he/she would pay attention in class.’
    • ‘This memo, and a follow-up notation on the memo the next day, support that there was a perceived urgency at the time and it was not created after the fact to justify the claim being made.’
    • ‘Schematic notation and scrawled text inscribed on the off-white paper grounds explicate the works' conception and fabrication.’
    • ‘The rest of the notation serves to make commentaries about the moves and is inessential for understanding it.’
    • ‘In the documents of the last volume, drawn from the imperial court, you can read the Emperor's notations down the margins.’
    • ‘Marginal notations add to this volume's value by helping readers see the interpretive choices, hermeneutical assumptions, and contextual influences at play in each essay.’
    • ‘In addition, marginal notations of dates indicate the initial entry of books in the Register which were subsequently reregistered by another party, likely as the result of a sale or trade between stationers.’
    • ‘To standardize orientation of the photographs across visits, the nurse made notations in the study records about patient positioning.’
    • ‘The reason why a great conductor makes notations on his musical scores - marks them up again and again each time he returns to study them - is the reason why you should mark your books.’
    annotation, jotting, inscription, comment, footnote, entry, minute, record, item, memo, gloss, explanation, explication, elucidation
    View synonyms
  • 3

    short for "scale of notation" (see scale (sense 2 of the noun))


Late 16th century: from Latin notatio(n-), from the verb notare, from nota ‘mark’.