re·​fer·​ral | \ ri-ˈfər-əl How to pronounce referral (audio) \

Definition of referral

1 : the act, action, or an instance of referring gave the patient a referral to a specialist
2 : one that is referred

Examples of referral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Connecting survivors to one another, which Everytown does a great job with, along with referrals to direct services, is also important. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "How the Parkland Students Helped a Columbine Survivor Find Her Voice," 19 Apr. 2019 On the advice of a neighbor, a retired crisis counselor, Wade called 211 — the number that provides information and referrals to social service agencies. Katherine Long, The Seattle Times, "A Kirkland mother’s anguished phone call brings help she never imagined," 9 Dec. 2018 Because of generally higher reimbursement in these specialties for hospital services, omitting them would result in a severe underestimation of the financial benefit a parent organization reaps from an in-system referral. WSJ, "Costs Convert Hospitals Into One-Stop Shops," 6 Jan. 2019 Prior to the sale to Renters Warehouse, OwnAmerica could help an SFR buyer find a property manager through a referral, which was usually Renters Warehouse. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "The single-family rental industry is starting to consolidate," 11 Dec. 2018 The most serious offenses, like violent crimes involving guns, result in automatic referrals to juvenile court and likely admission to the detention center. Evan Macdonald,, "Cuyahoga County looks to Dayton as model for rehabilitating youth, reducing juvenile crime," 12 Feb. 2018 Ask around for referrals, and read reviews before booking an appointment. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "What is Eyebrow Tinting, Anyway?," 1 Feb. 2019 Comey backed the findings of the DOJ watchdog, which then sent a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney in Washington. Fox News, "Former FBI official McCabe under grand jury probe," 7 Sep. 2018 Among other duties, the counselors will identify children who are suffering from toxic stress and will have the ability to make referrals to social services. Robert Higgs,, "Architect of Mayor Frank Jackson's anti-violence, crime efforts with youth leaving post," 25 Apr. 2018

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

1927, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for referral

Last Updated

14 May 2019

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Time Traveler for referral

The first known use of referral was in 1927

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More Definitions for referral



English Language Learners Definition of referral

: the act of sending someone to another person or place for treatment, help, advice, etc.


re·​fer·​ral | \ ri-ˈfər-əl How to pronounce referral (audio) \

Medical Definition of referral

1 : the process of directing or redirecting (as a medical case or a patient) to an appropriate specialist or agency for definitive treatment
2 : an individual that is referred


re·​fer·​ral | \ ri-ˈfər-əl How to pronounce referral (audio) \

Legal Definition of referral

: the act or an instance of referring appealed the referral of the bill to the Budget Committee

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More from Merriam-Webster on referral

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with referral

Nglish: Translation of referral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of referral for Arabic Speakers

Comments on referral

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


a strong desire or propensity

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