[ ref-uh-ree ]
See synonyms for referee on
  1. one to whom something is referred, especially for decision or settlement; arbitrator.

  2. (in certain games and sports) a judge having functions fixed by the rules of the game or sport; umpire.

  1. an authority who evaluates scientific, technical, or scholarly papers, grant proposals, or the like for the publication or funding institution to which they have been submitted.

  2. Law. a person selected by a court to take testimony in a case and return it to the court with recommendations as to the decision.

verb (used with object),ref·er·eed, ref·er·ee·ing.
  1. to preside over as referee; act as referee in.

verb (used without object),ref·er·eed, ref·er·ee·ing.
  1. to act as referee.

Origin of referee

First recorded in 1605–15; refer + -ee

synonym study For referee

1. See judge.

Other words for referee

Words Nearby referee Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use referee in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for referee


/ (ˌrɛfəˈriː) /

  1. a person to whom reference is made, esp for an opinion, information, or a decision

  2. the umpire or judge in any of various sports, esp football and boxing, responsible for ensuring fair play according to the rules

  1. a person who is willing to testify to the character or capabilities of someone

verb-ees, -eeing or -eed
  1. to act as a referee (in); preside (over)

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