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 refer (audio) , ri-​ˈfər-​ə-​ How to pronounce refer (audio) \ adjective
referrer \ ri-​ˈfər-​ər How to pronounce refer (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 In response, the selectmen voted to ask Town Meeting to refer the measure back to the board for further study. BostonGlobe.com, "Hanover selectmen back away from proposal to make town clerk an appointed position," 28 Apr. 2021 As a result, many consumers, as well as other brands, would be more likely to refer your brand to others. Yec, Forbes, "Three Great Social Media Engagement Strategies To Build Consumer Trust," 27 Apr. 2021 The board's current policy is to refer complaints back to an individual officer's agency to take action. Star Tribune, "State police licensing board to adopt policy on protest response, ban white supremacist affiliation," 22 Apr. 2021 Deputies are still investigating and plan to refer the case to a Dallas County grand jury to determine whether charges should be filed. Dallas News, "2-year-old killed after being ejected from car during crash on I-30 in Old East Dallas," 22 Apr. 2021 Which, again, is all the more reason to refer back to the first point on this list—go to a qualified doctor or specialist. Lauren Chan, Glamour, "Tattoo Removal: 11 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting It," 22 Apr. 2021 Why do people use two different names to refer to Myanmar? Nicole Gaouette, CNN, "What's happening in Myanmar and what the Biden administration is trying to do about it," 13 Apr. 2021 Last year, during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, former President Donald Trump began using anti-Asian rhetoric to refer to and describe the novel coronavirus. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego singer-songwriter explores ethnicity, social justice in his music," 11 Apr. 2021 In China, Zhu says people refer to chili crisp as chile sauce or Lao Gan Ma. Jenn Harris Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "L.A. is in the middle of a chile sauce craze. 16 to try now," 21 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for refer

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for refer

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Refer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refer. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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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

Nglish: Translation of refer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of refer for Arabic Speakers

Comments on refer

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