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 Dozens of sites are generated by a search for the National Performing Arts Action Association but all of them refer to Massimine’s award, in language similar to the College of Fine Arts’ release. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 June 2021 That history, combined with similarities between Earth and Venus in size and composition, is why planetary scientists refer to the planets as twins. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 3 June 2021 Denmark is what scholars refer to as a social democratic state, similar to Sweden or Norway. Alison Escalante, Forbes, 3 June 2021 Nodes refer to servers, which communicate to each other to solve larger problems. Annie Mattea, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3 June 2021 In earnings calls, companies refer frequently to their inventory levels. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, 2 June 2021 These moments may refer to particular aspects of Korean culture, but being competitive about cooking or trying to prepare a childhood dish are relatable experiences. New York Times, 1 June 2021 For all the details and specifics on these homes, refer to www.medinacountyparade.com. Sam Boyer, cleveland, 28 May 2021 Among travelers themselves, Keyes and his business — which devotees refer to as SCF — have developed something of a cult following. Washington Post, 27 May 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

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Refer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/refer. Accessed 14 Jun. 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

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

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