[ ref-uh-ree ]
/ 藢r蓻f 蓹藞ri /
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one to whom something is referred, especially for decision or settlement; arbitrator.
(in certain games and sports) a judge having functions fixed by the rules of the game or sport; umpire.
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.
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路er路eed, ref路er路ee路ing.
to preside over as referee; act as referee in.
verb (used without object), ref路er路eed, ref路er路ee路ing.
to act as referee.
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Origin of referee

First recorded in 1605鈥15; refer + -ee

synonym study for referee

1. See judge.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2022


What does聽referee mean?

The word referee most commonly refers to an official in a sporting event who enforces the rules of the game.

In sports, referees do things like call fouls and stop play when there has been a violation of the rules. Basketball, football, and soccer are examples of sports that used this kind of referee. In the context of sports, the word referee is commonly shortened with the informal term ref.

The word referee is also sometimes used to refer to a person who acts as a formal authority or arbitrator in some kind of decision, such as a legal case. Sometimes, the word refers to a person who鈥檚 responsible for reviewing scientific or academic papers or grant proposals.

Referee can also be used in a figurative way to refer to someone who has to enforce the rules in some situation, as in I spent the afternoon playing referee to several toddlers.

In all of its senses, referee can be used as a verb meaning to act as a referee, as in I signed up to referee my daughter鈥檚 soccer games.聽

Example: I鈥檝e never understood why players argue with referees鈥攈ave you ever seen one reverse their call?

Where does聽referee come from?

The first records of the word referee come from the early 1600s. It鈥檚 a combination of the verb refer and the suffix -ee, which is used to form words from verbs to indicate a person who is the beneficiary of the verb. In this way, a referee is a person to whom a matter is referred, often in order to make a decision on it.

Referees are commonly associated with basketball, football, and soccer, but other sports have referees. In professional American football, the referee is one of several officials who each have different titles and responsibilities. In other sports, the referee is called an umpire or judge.

In all such cases, the role of the referee is to be an enforcer of the rules who does not favor either player or team. Being a referee is often seen as a thankless job since players and fans are known for arguing with their calls (which, yes, are sometimes terrible).

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What are some other forms related to referee?

  • ref (informal shortened form)

What are some synonyms for referee?

What are some words that share a root or word element with referee?聽


What are some words that often get used in discussing referee?

How is聽referee used in real life?

Referee is commonly used as both a noun and a verb. It鈥檚 most commonly used in the context of sports, but it can also be used in a legal context. It鈥檚 sometimes used in a figurative way.



Try using聽referee!

Is referee used correctly in the following sentence?

I hate having to act as a referee when my friends are in an argument鈥擨 wish they could just sort it out themselves.

How to use referee in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for referee

/ (藢r蓻f蓹藞ri藧) /

a person to whom reference is made, esp for an opinion, information, or a decision
the umpire or judge in any of various sports, esp football and boxing, responsible for ensuring fair play according to the rules
a person who is willing to testify to the character or capabilities of someone
verb -ees, -eeing or -eed
to act as a referee (in); preside (over)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012