re·​fer·​ral | \ ri-ˈfər-əl \

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 Southern District of New York has been investigating Cohen for months, following a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The Trump Organization executive who knows all about the business has been subpoenaed," 26 July 2018 More recently, lawmakers created statutes allowing women to seek reproductive services without a referral from their primary doctor and to obtain a year’s supply of birth control in a single pharmacy visit and without a prescription. John Myers,, "Abortion may soon return to the national political debate, but it's largely settled in California," 8 July 2018 Prosecutors conducted the raid after a referral from Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Siobhan Morrin, Time, "President Trump’s Former Lawyer Says He Puts ‘Family and Country’ Before the President," 2 July 2018 The lawyer was ensnared in a federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election earlier this year, when FBI agents raided his office and hotel room after receiving a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller III. NBC News, "Michael Cohen says family, country 'have my first loyalty.' What about Trump?," 2 July 2018 One of Horowitz’s most notable assertions was that his office, based on a referral from the FBI, was reviewing the handling of Comey’s memos detailing what the former FBI director viewed as troubling interactions with Trump. Heather Long, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Economists say we're not in a full-blown trade war. Yet.," 19 June 2018 Cohen's offices and hotel room were raided in an investigation by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan after a referral from Mueller. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Cohen approached Ford for consulting, Mueller wants to see the records," 11 May 2018 The investigation into Cohen's finances and past work was opened based in part on a referral from Mueller. Bloomberg,, "Sessions won't recuse himself in investigation of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen," 24 Apr. 2018 The raid of his office was overseen by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan and based in part on a referral from Mueller. Fox News, "Trump seethes over FBI raid, ponders firing those he blames," 11 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

22 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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 \

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

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