refer

verb
re·​fer | \ ri-ˈfər How to pronounce refer (audio) \
referred; referring

Definition of refer

transitive verb

1a(1) : to think of, regard, or classify within a general category or group
(2) : to explain in terms of a general cause
b : to allot to a particular place, stage, or period
c : to regard as coming from or located in a specific area
2a : to send or direct for treatment, aid, information, or decision refer a patient to a specialist refer a bill back to a committee
b : to direct for testimony or guaranty as to character or ability

intransitive verb

1a : to have relation or connection : relate
b : to direct attention usually by clear and specific mention no one referred to yesterday's quarrel
2 : to have recourse : glance briefly referred frequently to his notes while speaking

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Other Words from refer

referable \ ˈre-​f(ə-​)rə-​bəl How to pronounce referable (audio) , ri-​ˈfər-​ə-​ How to pronounce referable (audio) \ adjective
referrer \ ri-​ˈfər-​ər How to pronounce referrer (audio) \ noun

Examples of refer in a Sentence

How can doctors refer patients for treatment without examining them first? Most of the patients we see here were referred by other doctors.

Recent Examples on the Web

After 10 of those absences, schools refer families to the program at Johnson County Community Corrections. Indianapolis Star, "11 parents in Johnson County face charges for kids missing school," 5 July 2019 Briefly, milliamp hours, or mAh, refer to the charger's capacity; a higher mAh roughly means a charger should refuel your device more times. Julianne Ross, CNN Underscored, "Over 20,000 people love these portable chargers," 2 July 2019 Soon after, Blake referred to Gwen's niece as his own. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Wait, Are Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani Engaged?!," 29 June 2019 Slow and Steady Stress Fatigue refers to weakening due to moderate stresses applied again and again. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "What Science Says About Why You're Stressed and How to Cope," 21 June 2019 Bentley said, referring to a neighborhood that is, on average, wealthier and whiter than her own. Libby Solomon, baltimoresun.com, "Affordable housing development proposed for East Towson," 19 June 2019 Other recipients, according to the report, have been referred to either the Treasury Department, the EDA or law enforcement. Jeff Pillets, ProPublica, "More Instances of Fraud and Mismanagement Over New Jersey Tax Incentives Surface in New Report," 18 June 2019 Also worth noting: Quartz is often referred to by the brandname of a big manufacturer, Caesarstone. Hannah Morrill, ELLE Decor, "The Main Differences Between Quartz and Granite," 17 June 2019 Harris also turned to what Obama referred to as the presidential pen strategy as part of her proposal to equalize disparities in salaries between men and women. Tal Kopan, SFChronicle.com, "Kamala Harris would lean on presidential power, not Congress, for big plans," 15 June 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for refer

Middle English referren, from Anglo-French referer, referir, from Latin referre to bring back, report, refer, from re- + ferre to carry — more at bear

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Statistics for refer

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for refer

The first known use of refer was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for refer

refer

verb

English Language Learners Definition of refer

: to send (someone or something) to a particular person or place for treatment, help, advice, etc.

refer

verb
re·​fer | \ ri-ˈfər How to pronounce refer (audio) \
referred; referring

Kids Definition of refer

1 : to look at for information She kept referring to her notes.
2 : to send or direct to some person or place for treatment, aid, information, or decision The patient was referred to a specialist.
3 : to call attention Jeremy wondered what had possessed him to refer to Prince Brat as his friend.— Sid Fleischman, The Whipping Boy
4 : to mention (something) in talking or writing
re·​fer | \ ri-ˈfər How to pronounce refer (audio) \
referred; referring

Medical Definition of refer

1 : to regard as coming from or localized in a certain portion of the body or of space pain of appendicitis may be referred to any region of the abdomenEncyclopedia Americana
2 : to send or direct for diagnosis or treatment refer a patient to a specialist

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re·​fer | \ ri-ˈfər How to pronounce refer (audio) \
referred; referring

Legal Definition of refer

: to send or direct for treatment, aid, service, information, or decision referred the debtor to an attorney with expertise in bankruptcy specifically : commit sense 1c

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More from Merriam-Webster on refer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for refer

Spanish Central: Translation of refer

Nglish: Translation of refer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refer for Arabic Speakers

Comments on refer

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