[ref-er-uhns, ref-ruhns]


verb (used with object), ref·er·enced, ref·er·enc·ing.

Origin of reference

First recorded in 1580–90; refer + -ence
Related formsmis·ref·er·ence, nounnon·ref·er·ence, nounpre·ref·er·ence, nounsub·ref·er·ence, nounun·ref·er·enced, adjective
Can be confusedallusion referencereference referral

Synonyms for reference Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for mis-reference



the act or an instance of referring
something referred, esp proceedings submitted to a referee in law
a direction of the attention to a passage elsewhere or to another book, document, etc
a book or passage referred to
a mention or allusionthis book contains several references to the Civil War
  1. the relation between a word, phrase, or symbol and the object or idea to which it refers
  2. the object referred to by an expressionCompare sense (def. 12)
  1. a source of information or facts
  2. (as modifier)a reference book; a reference library
a written testimonial regarding one's character or capabilities
a person referred to for such a testimonial
  1. (foll by to)relation or delimitation, esp to or by membership of a specific class or group; respect or regardall people, without reference to sex or age
  2. (as modifier)a reference group
point of reference a fact forming the basis of an evaluation or assessment; criterion
terms of reference the specific limits of responsibility that determine the activities of an investigating body, etc

verb (tr)

to furnish or compile a list of references for (an academic thesis, publication, etc)
to make a reference to; refer tohe referenced Chomsky, 1956


commerce with reference toreference your letter of the 9th inst Abbreviation: re
Derived Formsreferencer, nounreferential (ˌrɛfəˈrɛnʃəl), adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for mis-reference



1580s, "act of referring," from refer + -ance, or else from French référence, from Medieval Latin *referentia, from Latin referentem (nominative referens), present participle of referre (see refer). Meaning "direction to a book or passage" is recorded from 1610s. Meaning "testimonial" is from 1895. Reference book dates from 1808. Phrase in reference to is attested from 1590s.



1620s, "to assign;" as "to provide with a reference," 1837 (implied in referenced), from reference (n.). Related: Referencing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with mis-reference


see in regard (reference) to.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.