What does refer mean?

Definitions for refer

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word refer.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. mention, advert, bring up, cite, name, referverb

    make reference to

    "His name was mentioned in connection with the invention"

  2. refer, pertain, relate, concern, come to, bear on, touch, touch on, have-to doe withverb

    be relevant to

    "There were lots of questions referring to her talk"; "My remark pertained to your earlier comments"

  3. referverb

    think of, regard, or classify under a subsuming principle or with a general group or in relation to another

    "This plant can be referred to a known species"

  4. referverb

    send or direct for treatment, information, or a decision

    "refer a patient to a specialist"; "refer a bill to a committee"

  5. consult, refer, look upverb

    seek information from

    "You should consult the dictionary"; "refer to your notes"

  6. denote, referverb

    have as a meaning

    "`multi-' denotes `many' "

  7. referverb

    use a name to designate

    "Christians refer to the mother of Jesus as the Virgin Mary"


  1. referverb

    To direct the attention of.

    The shop assistant referred me to the help desk on ground floor.

  2. referverb

    To submit to an authority figure for consideration.

    He referred the matter to the principal.

  3. referverb

    To allude to, make a reference or allusion to.

  4. Etymology: * From referren, from referer, from referre, from re- + ferre; see bher- in Indo-European Roots.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To REFERverb

    Etymology: refero, Lat. referer, Fr.

    Those causes the divine historian refers us to, and not to any productions out of nothing. Thomas Burnet, Theory of the Earth.

    The heir of his kingdom hath referred herself unto a poor, but worthy gentleman. William Shakespeare, Cymbeline.

    You profess and practise to refer all things to yourself. Francis Bacon.

    The salts, predominant in quick lime, we refer rather to lixiviate, than acid. Robert Boyle, on Colours.

  2. To Referverb

    To respect; to have relation.

    Of those places, that refer to the shutting and opening the abyss, I take notice of that in Job. Burnet.


  1. refer

    To refer means to mention or indicate something or someone specifically, often by directing attention or seeking information from a different source, such as a book, person, or document. It can also refer to the act of sending or directing someone to a particular place, person, or resource for further assistance or information.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Referverb

    to carry or send back

  2. Referverb

    hence: To send or direct away; to send or direct elsewhere, as for treatment, aid, information, decision, etc.; to make over, or pass over, to another; as, to refer a student to an author; to refer a beggar to an officer; to refer a bill to a committee; a court refers a matter of fact to a commissioner for investigation, or refers a question of law to a superior tribunal

  3. Referverb

    to place in or under by a mental or rational process; to assign to, as a class, a cause, source, a motive, reason, or ground of explanation; as, he referred the phenomena to electrical disturbances

  4. Referverb

    to have recourse; to apply; to appeal; to betake one's self; as, to refer to a dictionary

  5. Referverb

    to have relation or reference; to relate; to point; as, the figure refers to a footnote

  6. Referverb

    to carry the mind or thought; to direct attention; as, the preacher referred to the late election

  7. Referverb

    to direct inquiry for information or a guarantee of any kind, as in respect to one's integrity, capacity, pecuniary ability, and the like; as, I referred to his employer for the truth of his story

  8. Etymology: [F. rfrer, L. referre; pref. re- re- + ferre to bear. See Bear to carry.]


  1. refer

    refer is a program for managing bibliographic references, and citing them in troff documents. It is implemented as a troff preprocessor. refer was written by Mike E. Lesk at Bell Laboratories in or before 1978, and is now available as part of most Unix-like operating systems. A free reimplementation exists as part of the groff package. refer works with a reference file, a text file where the author lists works to which she might want to refer. One such reference might look like: The author then can refer to it in her troff document by listing keywords which uniquely match this reference: refer sees little use today, primarily because troff itself is not used much for longer technical writing that might need software support for reference and citation management.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Refer

    rē-fėr, v.t. to submit to another person or authority: to assign: to reduce: to carry back: to trace back: to hand over for consideration: to deliver over, as to refer a matter: to appeal: to direct for information.—v.i. to direct the attention: to give a reference: to have reference or recourse: to relate: to allude:—pr.p. refer′ring; pa.t. and pa.p. referred′.adjs. Ref′erable, Refer′rible, that may be referred or assigned to.—ns. Referēē′, one to whom anything is referred: an arbitrator, umpire, or judge; Ref′erence, the act of referring: a submitting for information or decision: relation: allusion: one who, or that which, is referred to: (law) the act of submitting a dispute for investigation or decision: a testimonial: a direction in a book, a quotation; Ref′erence-Bī′ble, a Bible having references to parallel passages; Ref′erence-book, a book to be referred to or consulted, as an encyclopædia; Ref′erence-Lī′brary, a library containing books to be consulted only in the premises.—n.pl. Ref′erence-marks (print.), the characters *, †, &c., used to refer to notes, &c.—ns. Referendar′, in Germany, a legal probationer who has passed the first of the two examinations for the judicial service; Referen′dary, one to whose decision a cause is referred, a referee: formerly a public official whose duty was to procure, execute, and despatch diplomas and charters, or who served as the medium of communication with a sovereign: the official through whom the patriarch of Constantinople communicates with the civil authorities; Referen′dum, in Switzerland, the right of the people to have all legislative acts passed in the Federal or Cantonal Assemblies referred to them en masse.—adj. Referen′tial, containing a reference: pointing or referring to something else.—adv. Referen′tially, in the way of reference.—ns. Refer′ment; Refer′rer. [O. Fr. referer (référer)—L. referre, to carry back—re-, back, ferre, to carry.]

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'refer' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2813

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'refer' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2010

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'refer' in Verbs Frequency: #166

How to pronounce refer?

How to say refer in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of refer in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of refer in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of refer in a Sentence

  1. Loren Weisman:

    Refer and review like your reputation depends on it and is attached to it.

  2. Juliya Arbisman:

    We know that the threat was sufficient to have triggered what the police refer to as an Osman warning, which is an obligation under the UK law to provide disclosure and information that there is an existing threat to life.

  3. Logan Edra:

    It being in the Olympics, it makes sense that people would refer to it as (a sport) but I think one thing for the breaking community is we want to make sure that it’s not known as just a sport but an art, a sport, a culture.

  4. Jorge Luis Borges:

    There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics I refer to the infinite.

  5. Bob Jones:

    I take serious issue when somebody who's done a little non-fighting time in Iraq, and is not a Middle East or Islamic scholar, claims to know better than our President and Secretary of State how to fathom the motivations of terrorists, or how to refer to them beyond the term that best describes them -- terrorists.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for refer

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for refer »


Find a translation for the refer definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"refer." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/refer>.

Discuss these refer definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for refer? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    a textile machine for weaving yarn into a textile
    A abash
    B rumpus
    C loom
    D famish

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for refer: