referee

noun
ref·​er·​ee | \ ˌre-fə-ˈrē How to pronounce referee (audio) \

Definition of referee

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one to whom a thing is referred: such as
a : a person to whom a legal matter is referred for investigation and report or for settlement
b : a person who reviews a paper and especially a technical paper and recommends that it should or should not be published
c chiefly British : reference sense 4a
2 : a sports official usually having final authority in administering a game

referee

verb
refereed; refereeing

Definition of referee (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to conduct (a match or game) as referee
2a : to arbitrate (something, such as a legal matter) as a judge or third party
b : to review (something, such as a technical paper) before publication

intransitive verb

: to act as a referee

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of referee in a Sentence

Noun

served as the unofficial referee in disputes over the family business

Verb

She refereed the basketball game. He has refereed for several years now.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ward's repetitions during this session ended with him approaching a referee the Browns have presiding over the plays from the corner of the end zone. Matt Goul, cleveland.com, "What Denzel Ward did Thursday at Cleveland Browns minicamp," 6 June 2019 Lowry knocked the ball into a referee and landed in the lap of one male fan who appeared to grab Lowry's jersey with two hands. Michael Wagaman, chicagotribune.com, "A courtside fan was ejected from Game 3 of the NBA Finals after shoving Kyle Lowry," 6 June 2019 Lowry knocked the ball into a referee and landed in the lap of one male fan who appeared to grab Lowry’s jersey with two hands. Michael Wagaman, The Denver Post, "Kyle Lowry shoved by fan after landing out of bounds in Game 3 of NBA Finals," 5 June 2019 Without due process or accountability, a frustrated public is left with appealing to a few powerful referees—and crossing our fingers. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A majority of Americans don’t think social networks are good for the world," 21 Nov. 2018 In the clip, high school-aged players can be seen hitting a referee. Chelsea Prince, ajc, "Coach: Viral video of brawl at basketball game doesn’t tell whole story," 10 July 2018 The Tunisians protested that the infraction took place outside of the box, but the VAR team backed the referee’s decision and the penalty was awarded. SI.com, "Belgium 5-2 Tunisia: Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard Run Riot as Red Devils Qualify for Round of 16," 23 June 2018 In soccer, this means a referee can stop the run of play, award a free kick, even eject the offending player. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Why soccer players take dives," 21 June 2018 The film-makers offered money to more than 100 mostly west African football officials, including a Kenyan referee due to officiate at this month’s World Cup. The Economist, "Of 100 African football officials offered cash, only three declined," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In a field nearby, chaperons refereed a soccer match between grade-school students from Auer Avenue School. William Langhorne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Summer program intended to provide over 800,000 meals to Milwaukee students kicks off," 13 July 2018 But referee Bjorn Kuipers went over to look at the sideline monitor and reversed the decision. Jerome Pugmire, chicagotribune.com, "Brazil scores late goals to beat Costa Rica 2-0 at World Cup," 22 June 2018 On the home side, referees conduct video reviews with oversized headsets and undersized tablets that are stored amid a maze of wires. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "Enter the Sin Bin: What It's Like to Be Sent to 'Adult Timeout' in the NHL," 17 Apr. 2018 All other refereeing aspects like reading the game, uniformity and consistency in their decisions, positioning etc. Rob Harris, The Seattle Times, "Refs train with VAR ahead of approval for Women’s World Cup," 4 Feb. 2019 Two hours earlier, a very different side of Macron was seen during a break of play to review a refereeing decision that changed the game in France's favor. Graham Dunbar, Fox News, "French President Macron has plenty of fun at World Cup final," 15 July 2018 Petr Cech - A few dodgy refereeing decisions may have gone against Arsenal recently but their defence has still been pretty poor, resulting in Cech conceding eight goals in his last four league games. SI.com, "Premier League Fantasy Football: Who's Hot and Who's Not in Gameweek 23," 12 Jan. 2018 There were also documents suggesting connections between the club and the men responsible for overseeing refereeing in Portugal. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Why is a Lisbon soccer team trying to unmask Portuguese bloggers in US court?," 12 Oct. 2018 David Socha was the first American to referee a World Cup match, whistling one match each in 1982 and 1986. Ronald Blum, Houston Chronicle, "El Paso native 1 of 2 US referees at World Cup," 15 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of referee

Noun

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1883, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about referee

Statistics for referee

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for referee

The first known use of referee was in 1549

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for referee

referee

noun

English Language Learners Definition of referee

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who makes sure that players act according to the rules of a game or sport

referee

verb

English Language Learners Definition of referee (Entry 2 of 2)

sports : to act as a referee in (a game or sport)

referee

noun
ref·​er·​ee | \ ˌre-fə-ˈrē How to pronounce referee (audio) \

Kids Definition of referee

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sports official with final authority for conducting a game
2 : a person who is asked to settle a disagreement

referee

verb
refereed; refereeing

Kids Definition of referee (Entry 2 of 2)

: to act or be in charge of as referee I referee basketball games.

referee

noun
ref·​er·​ee | \ ˌre-fə-ˈrē How to pronounce referee (audio) \

Legal Definition of referee

: an officer appointed by a court or quasi-judicial body (as a workers' compensation board) to investigate a case, report findings, and often to make orders subject to review the board may affirm, reverse, modify or supplement the order of the refereeOregon Revised Statutes

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on referee

What made you want to look up referee? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!