noun, verb (used with or without object), reffed, ref·fing. Sports Slang.

Origin of ref

First recorded in 1895–1900; by shortening

ref. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ref

Contemporary Examples of ref

Historical Examples of ref

  • My inexperience became only too apparent when I told the men that I had "just beat the Ref."

    My Life

    Josiah Flynt

  • Ref hasn't changed any more than my interest in writing these books for you.

    Little Tony of Italy

    Madeline Brandeis

  • But there's a difference, and here's where you ref'ree, judge.

    Stover at Yale

    Owen Johnson

  • The ref shakes his head no, and that seems to satisfy the Martian.

  • The ref hadn't seen Charles foul me, but he'd seen Charles's play that weekend.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow

British Dictionary definitions for ref



informal short for referee


abbreviation for

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 ref

1899 (n.), 1929 (v.); short for referee. Related: Reffed; reffing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper