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(Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a note or comment in printed text preceded by the symbol of a fist with the index finger extended, which is used to highlight or draw attention to the text
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈɪn dɛks)

n., pl. -dex•es, -di•ces (-dəˌsiz)

v. n.
1. (in a printed work) an alphabetical listing of names, places, and topics along with the numbers of the pages on which they are mentioned or discussed.
2. a sequential arrangement of material, esp. in alphabetical or numerical order.
3. something used or serving to point out; indication: a true index of his character.
4. a pointer or indicator, as in a scientific instrument.
5. Also called fist, fistnote. a printed sign in the shape of a hand with extended index finger, used to point out a note or paragraph.
6. a number or formula expressing a property or ratio: index of growth; index of intelligence.
7. Math.
b. the integer n in a radical n^(1/2) defining the n-th root: 7^(1/3) is a radical having index three.
c. a subscript or superscript indicating the position of an object in a series of similar objects, as the subscripts 1, 2, and 3 in the series x1, x2, x3.
8. (usu. cap.) any list of forbidden or otherwise restricted material deemed morally or politically harmful by authorities.
9. to provide with an index.
10. to enter in an index.
11. to serve to indicate.
12. to adjust, as wages.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Latin: informer, token, list =in- in-2 + dicāre to show]
in′dex•a•ble, adj.
in′dex•er, n.
in•dex′i•cal, adj.
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