ref·​er·​en·​tial | \ ˌre-fə-ˈren(t)-shəl How to pronounce referential (audio) \

Definition of referential

: of, containing, or constituting a reference especially : pointing to or involving a referent referential language referential meaning

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Other Words from referential

referentiality \ ˌre-​fə-​ˌren(t)-​shē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce referentiality (audio) \ noun
referentially \ ˌre-​fə-​ˈren(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce referentially (audio) \ adverb

Examples of referential in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web My previous movies were very referential of specific styles. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Nicolas Pesce on His R-Rated ‘Grudge’ Reboot: ‘There’s Something Heavy Metal About Making Horror’," 2 Jan. 2020 Under chef Martin Salata, who studied fine art for a decade before diving into the edible arts (including under Hallowell), the menu is heavily referential and visually exciting. Soleil Ho,, "Oakland’s vibrant Sister signals shift in restaurant culture," 27 Dec. 2019 His music began to feel increasingly self-referential, possibly confessional. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "Burial’s Search for Fleeting Moments," 2 Dec. 2019 The elements of flippancy and irony that are popular currency among today’s referential artists are completely absent from her enterprise. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "Normani and the Work of the Pop Princess," 1 Sep. 2019 Lily Collins has always been deeply referential with her directional beauty looks—and her big-haired moment on tonight's Met Gala red carpet was no exception. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Lily Collins Channels Priscilla Presley on Her Wedding Day to Elvis at Met Gala 2019," 7 May 2019 With Madison and assorted others dropping in and dropping out, the foursome drive around the country, there are cameos, there is self-referential humor, hippies as well as blondes get mocked . . Ross Douthat, National Review, "Skip Zombieland 2 and Watch Lupita Nyong’o in Little Monsters," 24 Oct. 2019 All that’s left to do is fall back on self-referential byways and go after likes and retweets as an impoverished means of filling the void it’s created. Nathaniel Friedman, The New Republic, "Moments Without Truth," 21 Oct. 2019 This self-referential meta classic offers a cheeky look at the over-saturated horror genre with a legendary opening sequence and some solid scares. Nate Nickolai,, "The best horror films to stream right now," 20 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'referential.' 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 referential

1660, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for referential

Time Traveler

The first known use of referential was in 1660

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Statistics for referential

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Referential.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with referential

Comments on referential

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


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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