refer

verb
re·​fer | \ ri-ˈfər How to pronounce refer (audio) \
referred; referring

Definition of refer

transitive verb

1a(1) : to think of, regard, or classify within a general category or group
(2) : to explain in terms of a general cause
b : to allot to a particular place, stage, or period
c : to regard as coming from or located in a specific area
2a : to send or direct for treatment, aid, information, or decision refer a patient to a specialist refer a bill back to a committee
b : to direct for testimony or guaranty as to character or ability

intransitive verb

1a : to have relation or connection : relate
b : to direct attention usually by clear and specific mention no one referred to yesterday's quarrel
2 : to have recourse : glance briefly referred frequently to his notes while speaking

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Other Words from refer

referable \ ˈre-​f(ə-​)rə-​bəl How to pronounce referable (audio) , ri-​ˈfər-​ə-​ How to pronounce referable (audio) \ adjective
referrer \ ri-​ˈfər-​ər How to pronounce referrer (audio) \ noun

Examples of refer in a Sentence

How can doctors refer patients for treatment without examining them first? Most of the patients we see here were referred by other doctors.

Recent Examples on the Web

The fight is over which hospitals can get paid by the federal government to perform the procedure, often referred to as TAVR, for transcatheter aortic valve replacement. Peter Loftus, WSJ, "Smaller Hospitals Press for Chance to Offer Heart-Valve Procedure," 16 Mar. 2019 The Times reported that the manifesto contained white nationalist rhetoric and the author referred to themself as a fascist. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Mosque Shooting Attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, Resulted in Dozens of Deaths," 15 Mar. 2019 Modi in his remarks to reporters referred to the attack and said steps would be taken to punish the perpetrators and their supporters. Ashok Sharma, The Seattle Times, "Saudi crown prince backs India’s fight against terrorism," 20 Feb. 2019 James Sharp Brodsky and Philip McCarty, who Fondas lovingly refers to as Jim and Phil—who instantly knew the closet could be more. Amanda Sims, House Beautiful, "This Gorgeous Home Bar Used to Be a Dinky Closet," 11 Feb. 2019 Near the tram at the base area, JHMR’s newest après spot, RPK 3 (a wink to the acronym that refers to the snowfall forecast for powder day), opens this month, serving comfort food around a roaring fireplace. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "If You're Skiing the Rockies This Winter, Read This First," 4 Dec. 2018 The Pentagon has refused to provide an estimate of the number of U.S. service members currently in Syria and refers to them as troops, not peacekeepers. Nancy A. Youssef, WSJ, "U.S. Allies Spurred a Partial Reversal of Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Plan, Official Says," 23 Feb. 2019 Often referred to as the golden fiber because of its silky nature, it's primarily found in Bangladesh and India. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "What is a Jute Rug?," 20 Feb. 2019 David Ryder / Getty Images Amazon is in advanced talks about putting Amazon’s second headquarters, commonly referred to as HQ2, in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington County, Virginia, according to the Washington Post. Rani Molla, Recode, "What we know about Amazon’s potential new Virginia HQ2 location," 3 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'refer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of refer

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for refer

Middle English referren, from Anglo-French referer, referir, from Latin referre to bring back, report, refer, from re- + ferre to carry — more at bear

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Statistics for refer

Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for refer

The first known use of refer was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for refer

refer

verb

English Language Learners Definition of refer

: to send (someone or something) to a particular person or place for treatment, help, advice, etc.

refer

verb
re·​fer | \ ri-ˈfər How to pronounce refer (audio) \
referred; referring

Kids Definition of refer

1 : to look at for information She kept referring to her notes.
2 : to send or direct to some person or place for treatment, aid, information, or decision The patient was referred to a specialist.
3 : to call attention Jeremy wondered what had possessed him to refer to Prince Brat as his friend.— Sid Fleischman, The Whipping Boy
4 : to mention (something) in talking or writing
re·​fer | \ ri-ˈfər How to pronounce refer (audio) \
referred; referring

Medical Definition of refer

1 : to regard as coming from or localized in a certain portion of the body or of space pain of appendicitis may be referred to any region of the abdomenEncyclopedia Americana
2 : to send or direct for diagnosis or treatment refer a patient to a specialist

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re·​fer | \ ri-ˈfər How to pronounce refer (audio) \
referred; referring

Legal Definition of refer

: to send or direct for treatment, aid, service, information, or decision referred the debtor to an attorney with expertise in bankruptcy specifically : commit sense 1c

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More from Merriam-Webster on refer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for refer

Spanish Central: Translation of refer

Nglish: Translation of refer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refer for Arabic Speakers

Comments on refer

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