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

Bernice Parks said, referring to the gunshots that were fired at her house. Sydney Czyzon, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee man abruptly pleads guilty to killing 13-year-old Sandra Parks after hearing witness testimony," 11 June 2019 Water Wise refers customers in need of drilling services and water quality services to other businesses. Karly Ewing, Ramona Sentinel, "Business Spotlight: Water Wise Well Service pumped about growth," 10 June 2019 That is because the bill refers to Taiwan as part of China’s territory, which the island does not accept. The Economist, "China seems deaf to mass protests in Hong Kong over extradition," 10 June 2019 Gasman said, referring to federal and state funding inequities. Dartunorro Clark, NBC News, "At HBCUs, crushing student loan debt is a symptom of even bigger problems," 9 June 2019 Ainsworth, who turned over the gallery presidency to Anderson in 2018, said the gallery’s name refers to the original number of board members. Dennis Sullivan, Daily Southtown, "Lockport's Gallery Seven serves as matchmaker between artists, viewers," 9 June 2019 Though Majors is from New York, Talbot refers to him as an honorary San Franciscan. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "You Can't Hate San Francisco Unless You Love San Francisco," 7 June 2019 McDermott said, referring to the author who created beleaguered seventh-grader Greg Heffley, star of 13 Wimpy Kid books, with a 14th due in November, and four movies. Maria L. La Ganga, www.latimes.com, "What's L.A. reading? Our habits are as diverse as the city itself," 6 June 2019 Havelange’s response, rather than answering her directly, was to refer the issue to his top deputy. Grant Wahl, SI.com, "How the Women's World Cup and USWNT Were Built From Scratch," 6 June 2019

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

15 Jun 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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