1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Charity, compoſed of all three kindes, Pleaſant, Profitable, Honeſt”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy:[…], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC54573970, partition 3, section 1, member 3, subsection 1, page 349:
A man is beloued of a man, in that he is a man, but all theſe are farre more eminent and great, when they ſhal proceed from a ſanctified ſpirit, that hath a true touch of Religion, and a reference to God.
A measurement one can compare (some other measurement) to.
Information about a person, provided by someone (a referee) with whom they are well acquainted.
You must thoroughly reference your paper before submitting it.
To refer to, to use as a reference.
Reference the dictionary for word meanings.
1990, Thomas L. Bell, “Political Economy's Response to Positivism”, in Geographical Review, volume 80, number 3, American Geographical Society, JSTOR215307, page 314:
The penchant for synthesizing the work of others that pervades British scholarship has been described by one of my cynical American colleagues as “a giant bibliography that is always eating its own tail.” By this he means that cliques of like-minded writers tend to reference each other’s work incessantly.
1994, Barry Chamish, quoting Louis Rossetto, “The End of the Book”, in The Atlantic:
Written information is a relatively new phenomenon. Depositing it and being able to reference it centuries later is not common human experience.
1998 January 26, Donnie Radcliffe, “New Library Will Chronicle First Ladies”, in The Washington Post, pages C1+:
On the Florence Harding page, for instance, a researcher will be able to reference a book by Waarren Harding’s alleged mistress, Nan Britton, who claimed that she bore his daughter.
Humanities institutions specifically reference the work setting for illustrative applications of the unique and significant contributions of the Humanities.
1990, Jean Borgatti, “Portraiture in Africa”, in African Arts, volume 23, number 3, page 37:
With the economy characteristic of all African sculpture, these portraits reference individual and social identities simultaneously, so that the image of a king may represent a particular king and all kings; a commemorative mask for a woman, a particular woman and all titled women.
Some authorities object to the use of reference as a verb with a meaning other than “provide a list of references for,” preferring refer to or cite in these cases. Others allow the meaning “refer to” but reject “mention.” Nevertheless, the proscribed usages are common in both writing and speech.