AskDefine | Define refer

Dictionary Definition



1 make reference to; "His name was mentioned in connection with the invention" [syn: mention, advert, bring up, cite, name]
2 have to do with or be relevant to; "There were lots of questions referring to her talk"; "My remark pertained to your earlier comments" [syn: pertain, relate, concern, come to, bear on, touch, touch on]
3 think of, regard, or classify under a subsuming principle or with a general group or in relation to another; "This plant can be referred to a known species"
4 send or direct for treatment, information, or a decision; "refer a patient to a specialist"; "refer a bill to a committee"
5 seek information from; "You should consult the dictionary"; "refer to your notes" [syn: consult, look up]
6 have as a meaning; "`multi-' denotes `many' " [syn: denote] [also: referring, referred]

User Contributed Dictionary




  • From referren, from referer, from referre, from re- + ferre; see bher- in Indo-European Roots.


  1. To direct the attention of.
    The shop assistant referred me to the help desk on ground floor.
  2. To submit to an authority figure for consideration.
    He referred the matter to the principal.
  3. To allude to, make a reference or allusion to.



To direct to a source for help or information
To submit to an authority figure for consideration
  • Dutch: verwijzen
  • Greek: παραπέμπω (parapémpo)
  • Swedish: hänvisa (till)
To direct the attention of
  • Dutch: verwijzen
  • Greek: αναφέρω (anaféro)
  • Swedish: hänvisa (till)
To allude to
  • Finnish: viitata

Extensive Definition

Refer can mean:
  • To refer a patient is to transfer their care from one clinician to another
  • Refer (software), the troff preprocessor for citations

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

account for, accredit, accredit with, accrete to, acknowledge, address to, advert, advert to, advise, advise with, affect, allude, allude to, answer to, appeal to, appertain to, apply, apply to, argue, ascribe to, ask, assign, assign to, attach to, attribute, attribute to, bargain, be construed as, be taken as, bear on, bear upon, belong to, bespeak, betoken, blame, blame for, blame on, blurt, blurt out, breathe, bring home to, bring into play, bring to attention, bring to notice, bring up, call attention to, call in, charge, charge on, charge to, check, cite, collogue, comment, commit, commune, compare notes, concern, confer, confer with, confess, connect, connect with, connote, consult, consult with, convert to use, correspond to, counsel, credit, credit with, cross-refer, cross-reference, deal with, deliberate, denominate, denote, designate, direct, direct attention to, direct to, discuss, discuss with, emblematize, enlist into service, exchange observations, exchange views, exclaim, fall back upon, fasten upon, father upon, figure, finger, fix on, fix upon, focus on, glance, go, hand in, hand over, hang on, have connection with, have conversations, have recourse to, hold conference, imply, import, impress, impute, impute to, indicate, inquire of, insert, instance, interest, interject, interpolate, introduce, invoke, involve, lay, lay to, let drop, let fall, liaise with, link with, look at, look to, make a cross-reference, make reference to, mean, mention, muse, name, negotiate, note, observe, opine, palaver, parley, pass on, pass over, pertain to, pick out, pin on, pinpoint, place upon, point at, point out, point to, powwow, put heads together, put in requisition, quote, reason with, recur, recur to, refer to, reference, reflect, regard, relate to, remark, repair, resort to, respect, revert to, run, saddle on, saddle with, say, select, send, set down to, settle upon, signify, sit down together, sit down with, speak, specify, spell, stand for, stigmatize, study, suggest, symbol, symbolize, take counsel, take note of, take to, take up with, talk over, talk to, tie in with, touch, touch on, touch upon, treat of, turn, turn to, turn to use, typify, use
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