meaning - What does 'Ibid' mean in reference/footnotes?

  • HorusKol

    Every so often I read a book with footnotes, and I've seen them use Ibid. followed by page numbers - but I have no idea what this term means.

    At first I thought it was a reference to a classical author (spurred on a little bit by the character of Ibid in a Discworld book), but I realise now that it must have some technical meaning for referencing sources.

  • Answers
  • Monica Cellio

    It means "same source as last time" (previous note). Ibid is short for the Latin ibidem. See here.

  • newtron

    Ibid. (Latin, short for ibidem, meaning the same place) is the term used to provide an endnote or footnote citation or reference for a source that was cited in the preceding endnote or footnote.

  • jade

    Ibid is a contraction of ibidem, a Latin word meaning “the same place.” This term is most commonly used for footnoting in scholarly texts, allowing the author to say “ibid” instead of citing a lengthy title. In legal texts, people may use “id,” a shortening of “idem,” a word which means “as mentioned previously.” If you've ever been reading a text and wondering about the identity of this “ibid” person who seems to get cited all the time, now you know!

    Essentially, “ibid” is a fancy form of ditto marks. If, for example, you are referencing something like The Effects of Factory-Produced Emissions on the Greater Nile Watershed: An Environmental Study, that's a long title to have to refer to again and again. Instead, you can reference the title in a footnote, and then use “ibid” in future footnotes. If you move to a new location in the text, you can alert your readers with “Ibid (page 23)” or “Ibid, 23,” depending on what kind of citation format you are using.

    When a new source is introduced, the “ibid” process begins all over again. In other words, if you cite The Effects of Factory-Produced Emissions on the Greater Nile Watershed: An Environmental Study once and follow with four additional citations marked with “ibid” before moving on to Cultural Practices in the Southern Nile Floodplain, an “ibid” after this source would refer to Cultural Practices in the Southern Nile Floodplain, not to the original text.

  • Theta30

    "ibid" is short for ibidem, Latin for "in the same place." It's an expression used in bibliographies when authors repeatedly cite the same source. So instead of typing out Sharks: Mighty Finned Killers of the Deep every time you refer to the book you used in your science project, you simply type "Ibid" for each reference after the first one, then cite the page number to which you're referring.


  • Related Question

    meaning - What does "imperio in imperium" mean?
  • JSBձոգչ

    I've heard the Latin phrase imperio in imperium used in political discussions a few times. While I understand what the phrase literally means in Latin ("by command into command"), I'm not sure what the intended meaning is when the phrase is invoked in English as a discussion of political strategy or reality.

  • Related Answers
  • Cerberus

    You are right that it would mean something like "in an empire into an empire", which is nonsense; fortunately, this phrase is wrong: the classic term is imperium in imperio, which is, as Alex explained, an "empire within an empire", a group or organisation that functions almost as its own state, even though it is officially not a state but merely an unofficial entity within a state. The use of the word "imperium" instead of a more neutral word meaning a commonwealth, like "res publica", implies that the leader(s) of this entity impose some rules on it that would normally be imposed by a formal government.

  • Alex

    Further down on the page that Robusto linked to, the expression is defined: it means "a state within a state" - in other words, a group that exists within a political unit but exercises independent power there.

    Examples they give include: the Catholic Church in England before the Act of Supremacy (which made the British monarch the head of the Church of England - i.e., it became subordinate and no longer a separate imperium), and the Mormons in early territorial Utah. Possibly another example might be the Inquisition in Spain, which was nominally under royal control but in practice operated pretty independently.

  • Robusto

    In politics, it refers to a sphere of power or dominion.