Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “reference”

reference

noun uk   /ˈref.ər.əns/ us    /-ɚ-/

reference noun (MENTION)

B2 [C or U] a mention of something: Knowing what had happened, I avoided making any reference to (= mentioning) weddings.formal I am writing with/in reference to (= in connection with) your letter of 15 March.Quoting and making references

reference noun (IN A PIECE OF WRITING)

B2 [C] a writer or a book, article, etc. that is mentioned in a piece of writing, showing you where the person writing found their informationQuoting and making references [C] (abbreviation ref) in a business letter, a number that tells you who to speak to or where to look for more information: In all future letters on this subject, please use/quote our reference JW/155/C.Quoting and making references

reference noun (LETTER)

B2 [C] a letter that is written by someone who knows you, to describe you and say if you are suitable for a job, course, etc.: My old headteacher said he would write/give me a glowing (= very good) reference.Recruiting staff, applying for and accepting jobs

reference noun (LOOK AT)

C1 [U] a quick look at a book, piece of paper, etc. in order to find information and help: He made the whole speech without reference to the notes in front of him.Reading
(Definition of reference from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of reference?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “reference” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

roost

When birds roost, they go somewhere to rest or sleep.

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More