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)
2. A mark, or sign, made to call attention, to point out something to notice, or the like; a sign, or token, proving or giving evidence.
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)
4. A brief writing intended to assist the memory; a memorandum; a minute.
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.
6. A short informal letter; a billet.
7. A diplomatic missive or written communication.
8. A written or printed paper acknowledging a debt, and promising payment; as, a promissory note; a note of hand; a negotiable note.
9. A list of items or of charges; an account. Here is now the smith's note for shoeing. (Shak)
10. A character, variously formed, to indicate the length of a tone, and variously placed upon the staff to indicate its pitch. Hence: A musical sound; a tone; an utterance; a tune.
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)
11. observation; notice; heed. Give orders to my servants that they take no note at all of our being absent hence. (Shak)
12. Notification; information; intelligence. The king . . . Shall have note of this. (Shak)
13. State of being under observation. Small matters . . . Continually in use and in note. (bacon)
14. Reputation; distinction; as, a poet of note. There was scarce a family of note which had not poured out its blood on the field or the scaffold. (Prescott)
15. stigma; brand; reproach. Note of hand, a promissory note.
Origin: f. Note, L. Nota; akin to noscere, notum, to know. See know.