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From refer +‎ -ence.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɹɛf.(ə)ɹəns/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: ref‧er‧ence


reference (countable and uncountable, plural references)

  1. (literary or archaic) A relationship or relation (to something).
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy, 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, (please specify |partition=1, 2, or 3):
      , III.1.3:
      [A]ll these are far more eminent and great, when they shall proceed from a sanctified spirit, that hath a true touch of religion and a reference to God.
  2. A measurement one can compare to.
  3. Information about a person, provided by someone (a referee) with whom they are well acquainted
  4. A reference work.
  5. (semantics) A relation between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another object.
  6. (academic writing) A short written identification of a previously published work which is used as a source for a text.
  7. (academic writing) A previously published written work thus indicated; a source.
  8. (programming) An object containing information which refers to data stored elsewhere, as opposed to containing the data itself.
  9. (programming, character entity) A special sequence used to represent complex characters in a web page such as ™ or €.
  10. (obsolete) Appeal.
    • Shakespeare
      Make your full reference.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See also[edit]


reference (third-person singular simple present references, present participle referencing, simple past and past participle referenced)

  1. To refer to, to make reference to.
    Reference the dictionary for word meanings.
  2. To mention, to cite.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Some authorities object to the use of reference as a verb, preferring "refer to" or "cite".


Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]