Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “reference”

See all translations

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.
More examples

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 information [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.
More examples
  • You need to make a list of all your references.
  • There was a long list of references at the end of the article.
  • Where are your 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.
More examples

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.
(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

guru

a religious leader or teacher in the Hindu or Sikh religion

Word of the Day

The way we move (Verbs for walking and running)

by Kate Woodford,
March 25, 2015
​​​ This week we’re looking at interesting ways to describe the way that people move. Most of the verbs that we’ll be considering describe how fast or slow people move. Others describe the attitude or state of mind of the person walking or running. Some describe both. Starting with verbs for walking slowly,

Read More 

crossfit noun

March 23, 2015
high-intensity strength training Two women in strappy dresses discussed how much weight they could snatch

Read More