reference Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
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Meaning of “reference” in the English Dictionary

"reference" in British English

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referencenoun

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)yourletter of 15 ​March.
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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 ​particularinformation was ​found [C] (abbreviation ref) in a ​businessletter, a ​number that ​tells you who to ​speak to or where to ​look for more ​information: In all ​futureletters on this ​subject, ​please use/​quoteour reference JW/155/C.
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  • You need to make a ​list of all ​your references.
  • There was a ​longlist 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 ​oldheadteacher said he would write/give me a ​glowing (= very good) reference.
More examples
  • We need a reference from ​yourformeremployer.
  • I like to ​keep in with my ex-employer, you never ​know when you might need a reference.
  • We should really have taken up her references.
  • I'm often ​asked to ​provide references for ex-employees.
  • She ​provided a written reference from a ​previousemployer.

reference noun (LOOK AT)

C1 [U] a ​quicklook at a ​book, ​piece of ​paper, etc. in ​order to ​findinformation and ​help: He made the ​wholespeech without reference to the ​notes in ​front of him.
(Definition of reference from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"reference" in American English

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referencenoun

 us   /ˈref·ər·əns, ˈref·rəns/

reference noun (MENTIONING)

[C/U] the ​act of ​mentioning someone or something in ​speech or writing: [U] Avoid making any reference to his ​accident.

reference noun (STATEMENT)

[C] a written ​statementdescribingyourcharacter and ​abilities, or the ​person who writes this ​statement: She has ​excellent references. Could I ​list you as a reference on my ​application?

reference noun (CONNECTION)

[U] the ​act of making a ​connection between ​subjects: His ​comments were in reference to a ​stupidquestion someone ​asked.

reference noun (AUTHORITY)

[C/U] a ​text that ​recordsfacts and ​information: [C] There is a ​list of the author’s references at the end of the ​article. [C/U] A reference is also the ​act of ​looking at a ​text: [U] These ​books are for reference only and may not be ​checked out of the ​library. [C/U] A reference can also ​mean a reference book : [C] What references did you use for this ​research?
(Definition of reference from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"reference" in Business English

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referencenoun

uk   us   /ˈrefərəns/
[C] ( abbreviation ref) COMMUNICATIONS, WORKPLACE a set of ​numbers or ​letters on a ​document such as a ​businessletter, 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 ​formerboss 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
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(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 ​traderadvertises his ​goods by reference to another trader's ​goods.
[C] a ​statement that gives ​information about the ​financialsituation and ​businesshistory of a ​company, an ​organization, etc.: Check ​paymentrecords of ​prospectivecustomers through league ​tables, ​statusagencyreports, ​bank or trade references twice a ​year.
[U] the ​action of looking at a ​book, ​piece of ​paper, etc. in ​order to ​findinformation 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 ​businessletters, 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 ​fireservice.

referenceverb [T]

uk   us   /ˈrefərəns/
to refer to someone or something: He spoke about his ​ambitiousplans, referencing ​writer and motivator Dale Carnegie. See Diagram 3.1 referenced above.
(Definition of reference from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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