\ ˈref How to pronounce ref (audio) \

Definition of ref

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a referee in a game or sport

Definition of ref (Entry 2 of 2)

1 reference
2 refunding

Examples of ref in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

So the refs wanted to double-check LeBron's foot-placement. Andrew Sharp,, "An Inexplicable Calls Stains a Legendary NBA Finals Thriller," 1 June 2018 Just in case, the refs might want to practice catching balls thrown at them from half court. Bud Shaw,, "The Browns could offer Alex Smith a chance to take them up, up and away -- Bud Shaw's Spinoffs," 30 Jan. 2018 Then, after another stop, Vital got to the line and made both — with a long conference by the refs that resulted in a 19-second adjustment to the game clock. Dom Amore,, "Tulsa Burns UConn Men In Second Half, Wins 73-71," 16 Feb. 2018 Medunjanin wasn’t close to Stoica at that moment, though the Bosnian midfielder had some choice words in the ref’s face right before then. Jonathan Tannenwald,, "Union brace for fallout from Alejandro Bedoya red card, Haris Medunjanin spitting charge," 4 June 2018 Had the refs not missed the traveling call the game would've likely ended there, sparing Webber from the ensuing meltdown. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Chris Webber's Fab Five legacy is complicated — it's time to end the timeout," 6 Apr. 2018 Usually when there’s a fight, a ref gets in there and breaks everything up. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Omar Raja of House of Highlights on Too Embarrassed to Ask," 18 July 2018 He was suspended for a game this season by head coach Andy Reid after throwing a ref's flag. Bud Shaw,, "LeBron James is the talk of the NBA, and for no pressing reason -- Bud Shaw's Spinoffs," 23 Feb. 2018 The Cavaliers put on a gutty performance for the most part, and Game 1 was clearly influenced by the refs to the detriment of Cleveland., "Letters: If greatness is dull, the NBA Finals have become the dullest event around," 16 June 2018

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


1890, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for ref

Last Updated

13 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ref

The first known use of ref was in 1890

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More Definitions for ref



English Language Learners Definition of ref

informal : a referee in a game or sport


\ ˈref How to pronounce ref (audio) \

Kids Definition of ref

More from Merriam-Webster on ref

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ref

Spanish Central: Translation of ref

Comments on ref

What made you want to look up ref? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

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