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·er·eed, ref·er·ee·ing.

to preside over as referee; act as referee in.

verb (used without object), ref·er·eed, ref·er·ee·ing.

to act as referee.

Origin of referee

First recorded in 1605–15; refer + -ee

Synonyms for referee

1. arbiter. See judge. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for refereed

Contemporary Examples of refereed

  • Scientific developments in other nations were written up in refereed journals and became universally available.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Bush's Deadly Blunder

    Jeffrey Hart

    November 26, 2008

Historical Examples of refereed

  • I remember Terry of Yale who refereed that game, above all others.

    Football Days

    William H. Edwards

  • From this corner he dealt out cigars to the deserving, held stake moneys, decided all bets, and refereed all differences.

    The Celebrity, Complete

    Winston Churchill

  • Armour had never felt so nervous before; it was actually the first time he had refereed on a game.

  • We can, and indeed do, print electronic journals, which are refereed on the network.

British Dictionary definitions for refereed



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 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for refereed



1620s, "person who examines patent applications" (see refer). Sporting use recorded by 1820 (specifically of baseball from 1856).



1883, originally colloquial, from referee (n.). Related: Refereed; refereeing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper