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

The task force has made several criminal referrals to unspecified law enforcement agencies, and a state grand jury is looking into the program, which is administered by the state Economic Development Authority. Jeff Pillets, ProPublica, "More Instances of Fraud and Mismanagement Over New Jersey Tax Incentives Surface in New Report," 18 June 2019 All of those providers are represented in Maven’s network, work together digitally and provide referrals to one another. Kate Ryder, Time, "The Boss: How Kate Ryder Started a Healthcare App Designed for Women," 18 Apr. 2018 Zinke said Monday he was not notified of the referral and described communications between federal prosecutors and the inspector general’s office as happening routinely. Matthew Brown, The Seattle Times, "Zinke ‘100 percent confident’ he’ll be cleared in probes," 12 Nov. 2018 Wall Street analysts have credited its use of referrals by veterinarians for strong patient growth. Charley Grant, WSJ, "High-Flying Pet Insurer Faces New Risk," 31 Oct. 2018 The state elections commission requires a citizen complaint or local board of elections referral in order for the agency to launch an investigation. Jason Williams,, "PX column: Time's up for Jeff Pastor's campaign finance report. Is an investigation coming?," 11 July 2018 In 2016-17, the most recent Student Assistance Program data available, bullying was the primary cause of 443 referrals by school officials in Pennsylvania, according to state education data. Katie Park,, "Anti-Semitic text messages and an alleged threat of school violence. Did a Chester County school district handle the situation correctly?," 15 June 2018 However, time-consuming items of business prior to Perry and Skinner's issue sent the meeting into late hours, prompting discussion of their referral to be moved to a meeting next month. Darryl Enriquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Should government in Waukesha be downsized?," 16 May 2018 But, in the absence of such a referral, trying to find a Realtor in an unfamiliar city can seem like a very daunting task. Houston Chronicle, "On the Move: Choosing a Realtor for the move to Houston," 8 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.

See More

First Known Use of referral

1927, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about referral

Statistics for referral

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for referral

The first known use of referral was in 1927

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


showing courage and determination

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”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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