What Does Ibid. Mean? | Citation Examples

Ibid. is an abbreviation of the Latin “ibidem,” meaning “in the same place.”

It’s used in citations to quickly cite a source that you’ve already cited in full in a previous footnote or endnote. This directs the reader to the previous citation.

Example: Ibid. in a Chicago footnote
  1. C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959), 22.
  2. Ibid.

How do I use ibid. in my writing?

First, check whether the use of ibid. is permitted by your chosen citation style. Many styles no longer use ibid., as explained in the sections below. If you do use it, make sure that you:

  • Always include the period to show that ibid. is an abbreviation
  • Only use ibid. to direct the reader to a previous citation that provides full source information
  • Do not use ibid. if you have cited more than one source in the previous footnote or endnote—it won’t be clear what it refers back to

Ibid. in Chicago style

Ibid. is one option for shortening citations in Chicago footnotes or endnotes. The other option, more commonly used, is short notes.

To cite the same source and page number as you just cited, write “Ibid.” on its own.

When you are citing the same source, but different page numbers, write “Ibid.” followed by a comma and the relevant page number(s).

Example: Ibid. in Chicago style
  1. Ibid.
  2. Ibid., 36.
  3. Ibid., 40–42.

You can use ibid. several times in a row, but bear in mind that it only refers to the previous citation. Don’t use ibid. to refer back to a source when you’ve cited something else in between. Instead reintroduce the source.

Example: Reintroducing an earlier source
  1. E. M. Forster, A Passage to India (London: Edward Arnold & Co., 1924), 12
  2. Ibid., 24.
  3. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978), 70.
  4. Forster, A Passage to India, 25.
  5. Ibid., 30.

Using short notes instead

Although the use of ibid. is still allowed, the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style encourages you to use short notes instead.

Short notes are more versatile than ibid., since they can refer back not only to the previous source but to sources much earlier in the text.

The first time that you cite a source, provide a full citation. For subsequent citations, use a shortened version. To create a short note, include the:

  • Author’s last name
  • Short form of the title (no more than four words)
  • Page number(s)

Shortened titles should match the styling of the full title, using italics or quotation marks as appropriate.

Example: Full note and short note in Chicago style
  1. Susan Wise Bauer, The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome (New York: W. W. Norton, 2007), 12.
  1. Wise Bauer, History of Ancient World, 25.

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

Try for free

Can I use ibid. in APA or MLA?

No, APA and MLA do not use ibid.

This is because APA in-text citations and MLA in-text citations are both presented in parentheses rather than footnotes. These citations are already very short, so there’s no need to shorten them further.

The rise of capitalism in Northern Europe owes much to the Protestant work ethic, particularly that of Calvinism (Weber, 1930).
If “the modern writer (scriptor) is born simultaneously with his text,” the role of the reader undergoes a profound change (Barthes 145).

Frequently asked questions about ibid.

What does ibid. mean?

Ibid. is an abbreviation of the Latin “ibidem,” meaning “in the same place.” Ibid. is used in citations to direct the reader to the previous source.

How do I use ibid. in my writing?

Only use ibid. if you are directing the reader to a previous full citation of a source.

Ibid. only refers to the previous citation. Therefore, you should only use ibid. directly after a citation that you want to repeat.

Can I use ibid. in Chicago style?

Ibid. may be used in Chicago footnotes or endnotes.

Write “Ibid.” alone when you are citing the same page number and source as the previous citation.

When you are citing the same source, but a different page number, use ibid. followed by a comma and the relevant page number(s). For example:

  1. Ibid.
  2. Ibid., 36.
  3. Ibid., 40–42.
Can I use ibid. in APA Style?

APA does not permit the use of ibid. This is because APA in-text citations are parenthetical and there’s no need to shorten them further.

Is this article helpful?
Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.

1 comment

Eoghan Ryan
Eoghan Ryan (Scribbr Team)
May 6, 2022 at 12:27 PM

Thanks for reading! Hope you found this article helpful. If anything is still unclear, or if you didn’t find what you were looking for here, leave a comment and we’ll see if we can help.

Still have questions?

Please click the checkbox on the left to verify that you are a not a bot.