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 refer (audio) , ri-​ˈfər-​ə-​ How to pronounce refer (audio) \ adjective
referrer \ ri-​ˈfər-​ər How to pronounce refer (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 In Portugal, where drugs were decriminalized two decades ago, anyone found with drugs goes before a panel made up of legal, health and social work professionals who refer them to treatment. Justin Fenton, baltimoresun.com, "Can Baltimore end the War on Drugs? As Marilyn Mosby takes lead on decriminalization, few public health alternatives are in place," 30 Apr. 2021 The program also teaches faculty and staff how to respond to anxious students and refer them to counseling center services. Julie Washington, cleveland, "College students suffering depression due to coronavirus, so counseling centers offer help remotely; here’s how parents can help, too," 30 Apr. 2021 Sometimes the best practice is to simply tell them that your process is not the best fit, and refer them to someone else that can truly help them. Clara Capano, Forbes, "'I Quit': Stop Doing The Wrong Things So You Can Make Room For The Right Things," 27 Apr. 2021 On May 3 the Senate Appropriations Committee will decide whether to advance SB 593 to the Senate floor, refer it to another committee, or take no action. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "CA legislators propose reforms to prevent another A3 charter school scandal," 26 Apr. 2021 The regional director could issue a decision on the objections, or combine them with unfair labor practice charges and refer them to an administrative law judge, who rules on unfair labor practices. Caitlin Harrington, Wired, "Union Says Amazon Violated Labor Law in the Alabama Election," 19 Apr. 2021 An acquaintance asked me to refer him for an open position at my company. New York Times, "A Hygenist Had Covid. Shouldn’t My Dentist Have Told Me?," 30 Mar. 2021 Your doctor can refer you to a gastroenterologist as well as a therapist. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Employee’s gastrointestinal health, stress, make return to office work concerning," 20 Mar. 2021 Researchers from the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate groups, were concerned enough last October about Miller to refer him to law enforcement. Mario Ariza, sun-sentinel.com, "Right-wing ‘radical,’ arrested in FBI raid, hires free speech attorney Norman Kent," 5 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for refer

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for refer

Last Updated

18 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Refer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refer. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on refer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for refer

Nglish: Translation of refer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refer for Arabic Speakers

Comments on refer

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