- to direct for information or anything required: He referred me to books on astrology.
- to direct the attention or thoughts of: The asterisk refers the reader to a footnote.
- to hand over or submit for information, consideration, decision, etc.: to refer the argument to arbitration.
- to assign to a class, period, etc.; regard as belonging or related.
- to have relation; relate; apply.
Origin of refer
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Related Wordsinvoke, hint, attribute, introduce, cite, indicate, assign, specify, transfer, deliver, send, submit, recommend, commit, answer, relate, involve, connect, go, apply
Examples from the Web for refer
Panicked, I reached out to hoarding experts, who often refer to any kind of obsessive digital collecting as “infomania.”I’m a Digital Hoarder
December 17, 2014
His acolytes, some of whom refer to themselves as “health freedom fighters” are undeterred by this sort of jealous shoptalk.Honey Boo Boo, Snake Oil, and Ebola: The Weird World of Young Living Essential Oils
December 5, 2014
One thing I do to respect the people who want to keep hip hop ‘sacred’ is refer to myself as rap-cabaret.From Church of Christ to Pansexual Rapper
November 28, 2014
How am I supposed to refer to a person of the opposite sex whom I am not married to but who is, well, “special”?What Should I Call the Man I Love?
November 18, 2014
You refer to a car accident you were in as a kind of spark for you to get back into acting.All Eyes on Anjelica Huston: The Legendary Actress on Love, Abuse, and Jack Nicholson
November 10, 2014
I refer, of course, to man's mastery over the latent forces of Nature.
To Alec Haskell I shall in this discourse again have occasion to refer.
Cyrus worries so about it (of course we know what you refer to).Quaint Courtships
At the end of it, he asked, "Did you--you must excuse me--refer to me at all?"Questionable Shapes
William Dean Howells
Those who desire information of the most undoubted, must refer to his pages.American Notes
- (intr) to make mention (of)
- (tr) to direct the attention of (someone) for information, facts, etcthe reader is referred to Chomsky, 1965
- (intr) to seek information (from)I referred to a dictionary of English usage; he referred to his notes
- (intr) to be relevant (to); pertain or relate (to)this song refers to an incident in the Civil War
- (tr) to assign or attributeCromwell referred his victories to God
- (tr) to hand over for consideration, reconsideration, or decisionto refer a complaint to another department
- (tr) to hand back to the originator as unacceptable or unusable
- (tr) British to fail (a student) in an examination
- (tr) British to send back (a thesis) to a student for improvement
- refer to drawer a request by a bank that the payee consult the drawer concerning a cheque payable by that bank (usually because the drawer has insufficient funds in his account), payment being suspended in the meantime
- (tr) to direct (a patient) for treatment to another doctor, usually a specialist
- (tr) social welfare to direct (a client) to another agency or professional for a service
Word Origin and History for refer
late 14c., "to trace back (to a first cause), attribute, assign," from Old French referer (14c.) and directly from Latin referre "to relate, refer," literally "to carry back," from re- "back" (see re-) + ferre "carry" (see infer). Meaning "to commit to some authority for a decision" is from mid-15c.; sense of "to direct (someone) to a book, etc." is from c.1600. Related: Referred; referring.