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

Kardashian West was likely referring to her May 2018 meeting with President Trump to discuss prison reform. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "John F. Kennedy’s Grandson Reportedly Has a Crush on Kendall Jenner," 11 Apr. 2019 Williams is, of course, referring to the fact Markle is expecting her first child with Prince Harry. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Serena Williams Told Meghan Markle to 'Stop Being So Nice'," 7 Dec. 2018 The caravan the president was likely referring to was first reported by BuzzFeed News on Friday. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Trump declares 'NO MORE' DACA deal after report of caravan with Central Americans heading to US," 2 Oct. 2018 The prophecy may also refer to Littlefinger (a.k.a. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who Has Green Eyes on Game of Thrones?," 29 Apr. 2019 Poor Swan was even mistakenly referred to as an interim CEO by his own investor-relations chief during introductions. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel CEO Swan says chip shortages will never happen again on his watch," 25 Apr. 2019 Pilots of the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed last month referred to Boeing's safety guidelines while trying to rescue the aircraft from a fatal nosedive, according to a Wall Street Journal report early Wednesday. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Report: Ethiopian Airlines Pilots Followed Boeing's Safety Procedures But Couldn't Prevent Crash," 3 Apr. 2019 Logan is referring to the episode in season 2 where Kevin gets injured in a football game, thus ending his chances of playing at Notre Dame. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Logan Shroyer Has High Hopes for Kevin Going Into 'This Is Us' Season 4," 2 Apr. 2019 For example, in March the Ides falls on the 15th; days 8 to 14 were simply referred to as before the Ides. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "So, What Exactly Are the Ides of March?," 15 Mar. 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

18 May 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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