Difference Between Cite and Sight

Homophones- the most bewildering part of English grammar. They sound similar but differ in definition, meaning, and usage.

At a beginner level, these homophones may perplex any man. One such example is the words Cite and Sight.

These words sound the same but are different. Knowing the difference between them may aid while using them.   

Cite vs Sight

The main difference between Cite and Sight is that Cite is a word that is used in terms of sources, papers, etc., for instance citing something in an academic set of papers means stating a fact in that paper, on the other hand, Sight is a word that is used in terms of seeing and perceiving the things that are being seen.   

Cite vs Sight

Cite is often used as a verb and is used in a statement stating or mentioning facts/shreds of evidence. For instance, if a student prepares an academic research paper, he/ she needs to ‘Cite’ facts, pieces of evidence, proofs, links.

Citation in terms of the bibliography includes providing enough references in the form of books, web pages, etc. Citing something should be highly specific and provide details of the said subject.   

On the other hand, Sight is a word that is used both as a noun and a verb, as a noun it is used to quote vision or observation,

for instance, ‘we had a beautiful sight of a fort at our day out, whereas as a verb the word sight means the action of seeing or witnessing something.  

Comparison Table Between Cite and Sight

Parameters of Comparison    Cite    Sight  
Classification    Verb    Verb as well as Noun  
Definition    To state/ provide references    Verb- To witness something  Noun- Vision   
Origin    Latin verb- Citare  Old English- Sihth   
Also refers to    Legal Citations, Bibliographical Citations, etc.    Sightseeing, Point of Interest, etc.    
Example    ‘Kindly cite references in this section.  ‘The sight of a splendid temple was worth taking a snapshot of’.  

What is Cite?  

Aforementioned, Cite is a word that acts as a verb and it practically means to quote or state fact/evidence.

It is often used by students while writing academic research papers as it is mandatory to cite references in these papers. In terms of Bibliography, authors usually cite references while writing a book.   

Cite is one of the oldest words in the English Language it has its roots in Latin from the word Citare-which typically means to assemble in a court, and ciere- which means in motion.

These words led to the word Legal Citation- if anyone is legally charged and is asked to summon in the court then the term Legal Citation is used.   

Citation in terms of research paper stands for quoting references in the paper. There are numerous ways to cite something in a paper, through Google Scholar website, Dictionary.com, etc.

Authors usually use various other book references while writing and publishing their book. Citation is quite significant while composing a book.   

Often, Citation in a book involves only mentioning the author’s name and his/ her work, but while writing online research papers it is necessary to provide enough links to his/ her work.

This type of citation is called a bibliography.  

In daily life, Citation/ Citing is usually used by doctors while formulating reports, mentioning/ quoting other diseases/ medical terminologies while explaining a disease.

Quoting various penal codes in a Legal Document stands for extra charges. Thus, one word Cite/ Citation has several meanings in several sectors.   

What is Sight?  

As mentioned above, Sight is a word that goes both as a noun and as a verb.

As a noun, it is used in place of vision, for instance, sightseeing, or mentioning a beautiful sight, as a verb, it is used to describe to witness something, it is often used in place of the word to see,

for instance, we have seen a beautiful palace and we had the sight of a beautiful fort mean the same.   

The origin of the word sight goes back to ages, sight is the oldest word and it comes from the Old English word sihth or seon which means vision or see.   

A sight is something that you are currently witnessing in front of your eyes, this site may include historical, mythological, and several other significant monuments, for instance, temples, mosques,

or the world’s seven wonders like the Taj Mahal, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Eiffel Tower, etc. For example, ‘The temple was such a beautiful sight that it made me sigh out of ecstasy’.   

The word sight may also mean a point of interest, for example, the sight or area denoting the Great Wall of China, is a point of interest (POI).

This point of interest is highly used in Google Maps to locate the exact sight that the user is in right now.   

The word sight is most commonly used as a verb more than a noun, as everyday life includes describing what you are seeing/ witnessing right now.

Several examples use the word sight as a verb, one of them being, ‘The sight of a ship moving towards the shore is the most magnificent.  

Main Differences Between Cite and Sight 

  1. Cite is a word that denotes quoting a reference in a paper or a book, whereas sight is a word that is used to denote vision/ observation or sights to witness.  
  2. Cite is mostly used as a verb, in contrast, Sight is used as a verb as well as a noun.   
  3. The origin of the word Cite is Latin, whereas the word Sight originated from Old English.  
  4. The word Cite can be used in terms of quoting scientific links/ references in an academic research paper (Scientific Citation), Penal Codes in Legal Documents (Legal Citation), etc., on the other hand, the word Sight can also mean places or locations worth seeing.  
  5. Citation in terms of books is called a Bibliography, whereas Sight in terms of locations is called a Point of Interest.   
  6. Example for the word Cite; ‘Kindly cite the links in this document, while Example for the word Sight is ‘The sight of the bird flying in the sky is spectacular’.   
Difference Between Cite and Sight


From the above-mentioned points, it is evident that even though the words Cite and Sight sound strikingly similar but are intrinsically different.

They may appear similar, but they differ in spelling, meaning, use. Both these words are used in different contexts; thus, they fall into the category of Homophones.

The word Sight came into existence way before the word Cite. The word Sight can also be used in place of the words Site or See.  

Cite is a word that is used to describe an action- a verb, whereas Sight is a word that can be used both as an action (Verb) and as an identification (Noun).

Nevertheless, both the word Cite and Sight are used recurrently in day-to-day life in different circumstances and scenarios.   


  1.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0160738389900285 
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