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
 
 
/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.
[C] a statement that gives information about the financial situation and business history of a company, an organization, etc.: Check payment records of prospective customers through league tables, status agency reports, bank or trade references twice a year.
[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)
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

thug

a man who acts violently, especially to commit a crime

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