refer

verb re·fer \ ri-ˈfər \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of refer

referred; referring
transitive verb
1 a (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
2 a : 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
1 a : 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

referable

play \ˈre-f(ə-)rə-bəl, ri-ˈfər-ə-\ adjective

referrer

play \ri-ˈfər-ər\ noun

Examples of refer in a Sentence

  1. How can doctors refer patients for treatment without examining them first?

  2. Most of the patients we see here were referred by other doctors.

Recent Examples of refer from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

refer Synonyms



REFER Defined for English Language Learners

refer

verb

Definition of refer for English Language Learners

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


REFER Defined for Kids

refer

verb re·fer \ ri-ˈfər \

Definition of refer for Students

referred; referring
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

Medical Dictionary

refer

transitive verb re·fer \ ri-ˈfər \

medical Definition of refer

referred; referring
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 abdomen
  • Encyclopedia Americana
2 : to send or direct for diagnosis or treatment
  • refer a patient to a specialist

Law Dictionary

refer

transitive verb re·fer \ ri-ˈfər \

legal Definition of refer

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


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