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English definition of “reference”

reference

noun     /ˈrefərəns/
[C] ( abbreviation ref) COMMUNICATIONS, WORKPLACE a set of numbers or letters on a document such as a business letter, used so that people know what it relates to: give/quote/use a reference In all future letters on this subject, please quote our reference JW/155/C/2011. Please write with a full CV quoting the appropriate reference number.
[C] HR a letter that is written by someone who knows you, often a previous employer, to describe you and say if you are suitable for a job, course, etc.: give/write sb a reference His former boss gave him an excellent reference. She has good references and an acceptable CV.check/follow up/take up references We still need to recall the candidate for a second interview, and follow up references. a reference check → Compare testimonial
(also personal reference, UK also referee) HR a person who knows you and who is willing to write a reference for you: give/list/name sb as a reference He said he was happy for me to list him as a reference.
[C or U] a mention of something: make reference to sth He didn't make any reference to the new product in his report.
[C or U] comparison with something: reference to sth Comparative advertising is where one trader advertises his goods by reference to another trader's goods.
[U] the action of looking at a book, piece of paper, etc. in order to find information or help: reference to sth He made the whole speech without reference to the notes in front of him. reference books/works/publishing
for (future) reference in order to be looked at for information in future: You should keep the prospectus on file for future reference.
for future reference, ... used when telling someone something so they know about it in future: For future reference, he prefers to be addressed as 'Mr.'
in/with reference to sb/sth formal used, especially in business letters, to say what you are writing or talking about: I am writing with reference to your letter of 15 March.
terms of reference the subjects or questions which a study or report is intended to include: The inquiry's terms of reference included the consideration of pay and conditions in the fire service.
→ See also bank reference, credit reference
(Definition of reference noun from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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