[ref-er-uh nt]


the object or event to which a term or symbol refers.
Logic. the first term in a proposition to which succeeding terms relate.

Origin of referent

1835–45; < Latin referent- (stem of referēns), present participle of referre. See refer, -ent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for referent

antecedent, denotation, term, thing

Examples from the Web for referent

Historical Examples of referent

British Dictionary definitions for referent



the object or idea to which a word or phrase refersCompare sense (def. 12)

Word Origin for referent

C19: from Latin referens, from referre to refer
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 referent

1838, from Latin referentem (nominative referens), present participle of referre (see refer). As a noun from 1844.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper