Other forms: references; referenced; referencing

If you are writing a report for school, you are probably relying on a few references, or sources, for information. Or, if you are applying for a job, you may count on a reference from a previous boss to help you get the job.

Good references are sometimes necessary to either get a job or to get a job done well. A reference is someone you can rely on to put in a good word for you when applying for a job. Or, a reference might be an outside source you use in a research paper. Don't forget: if you reference outside work, be sure to mention it in your bibliography or "list of references" so you don't get accused of plagiarism. Give credit where it's due.

Definitions of reference
  1. noun
    the act of referring or consulting
    reference to an encyclopedia produced the answer”
    synonyms: consultation
    see moresee less
    type of:
    something done (usually as opposed to something said)
  2. noun
    an indicator that orients you generally
    “it is used as a reference for comparing the heating and the electrical energy involved”
    synonyms: point of reference, reference point
    see moresee less
    show 13 types...
    hide 13 types...
    bench mark, benchmark
    a surveyor's mark on a permanent object of predetermined position and elevation used as a reference point
    a mark showing the boundary of a piece of land
    lubber line, lubber's line, lubber's mark, lubber's point
    a fixed line on a ship's compass indicating its heading
    mark, target
    a reference point to shoot at
    white line
    a white stripe in the middle of a road to mark traffic lanes
    bright-colored; a float attached by rope to the seabed to mark channels in a harbor or underwater hazards
    mearstone, meerestone, merestone
    an old term for a landmark that consisted of a pile of stones surmounted by an upright slab
    a target used in archery
    a funnel-shaped device towed as a target by an airplane
    acoustic buoy
    a buoy that can be heard (at night)
    can, can buoy
    a buoy with a round bottom and conical top
    conical buoy, nun, nun buoy
    a buoy resembling a cone
    spar buoy
    a buoy resembling a vertical log
    type of:
    a signal for attracting attention
  3. noun
    a remark that calls attention to something or someone
    “the speaker made several references to his wife”
    synonyms: mention
    see moresee less
    passing reference or indirect mention
    reference to things past
    the practice of casually mentioning important people in order to impress your listener
    type of:
    comment, input, remark
    a statement that expresses a personal opinion or belief or adds information
  4. noun
    (computer science) the code that identifies where a piece of information is stored
    synonyms: address, computer address
    see moresee less
    argument, parameter
    (computer science) a reference or value that is passed to a function, procedure, subroutine, command, or program
    URL, uniform resource locator, universal resource locator
    the address of a web page on the world wide web
    type of:
    code, computer code
    (computer science) the symbolic arrangement of data or instructions in a computer program or the set of such instructions
  5. noun
    a book to which you can refer for authoritative facts
    “he contributed articles to the basic reference work on that topic”
    synonyms: book of facts, reference book, reference work
    see moresee less
    show 25 types...
    hide 25 types...
    cookbook, cookery book
    a book of recipes and cooking directions
    instruction book
    a book of directions for using or operating some piece of equipment
    source book
    a collection of historically important documents published together as a book
    a reference book containing words (usually with their meanings)
    enchiridion, handbook, vade mecum
    a concise reference book providing specific information about a subject or location
    an alphabetical list of names and addresses
    annual, yearbook, yearly
    a reference book that is published regularly once every year
    atlas, book of maps, map collection
    a collection of maps in book form
    cyclopaedia, cyclopedia, encyclopaedia, encyclopedia
    a reference work (often in several volumes) containing articles on various topics (often arranged in alphabetical order) dealing with the entire range of human knowledge or with some particular specialty
    dictionary, lexicon
    a reference book containing an alphabetical list of words with information about them
    a list of proper nouns naming persons or places
    a listing of the words used in some enterprise
    gloss, glossary
    an alphabetical list of technical terms in some specialized field of knowledge; usually published as an appendix to a text on that field
    synonym finder, thesaurus
    a book containing a classified list of synonyms
    a small handbook
    a book regarded as authoritative in its field
    guide, guidebook
    something that offers basic information or instruction
    ready reckoner, reckoner
    a handbook of tables used to facilitate computation
    phone book, phonebook, telephone book, telephone directory
    a directory containing an alphabetical list of telephone subscribers and their telephone numbers
    an annual publication containing tabular information in a particular field or fields arranged according to the calendar of a given year
    almanac, farmer's calendar
    an annual publication including weather forecasts and other miscellaneous information arranged according to the calendar of a given year
    an annual publication containing astronomical tables that give the positions of the celestial bodies throughout the year
    dialect atlas, linguistic atlas
    an atlas showing the distribution of distinctive linguistic features
    book of knowledge
    an elementary encyclopedia dealing with general knowledge
    blue book
    a register of persons who are socially prominent
    type of:
    a written work or composition that has been published (printed on pages bound together)
  6. noun
    a publication (or a passage from a publication) that is referred to
    “he carried an armful of references back to his desk”
    synonyms: source
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a copy of a printed work offered for distribution
  7. noun
    a short note recognizing a source of information or of a quoted passage
    synonyms: acknowledgment, citation, cite, credit, mention, quotation
    see moresee less
    photo credit
    a note acknowledging the source of a published photograph
    cross-index, cross-reference
    a reference at one place in a work to information at another place in the same work
    type of:
    annotation, notation, note
    a comment or instruction (usually added)
  8. verb
    refer to
    “he referenced his colleagues' work”
    synonyms: cite
    see moresee less
    type of:
    compose, indite, pen, write
    produce a literary work
  9. noun
    a formal recommendation by a former employer to a potential future employer describing the person's qualifications and dependability
    synonyms: character, character reference
    see moresee less
    type of:
    good word, recommendation, testimonial
    something that recommends (or expresses commendation of) a person or thing as worthy or desirable
  10. noun
    the relation between a word or phrase and the object or idea it refers to
    “he argued that reference is a consequence of conditioned reflexes”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    meaning, substance
    the idea that is intended
  11. noun
    the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression; the class of objects that an expression refers to
    synonyms: denotation, extension
    see moresee less
    type of:
    meaning, substance
    the idea that is intended




Cite this entry
  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago

Copy citation
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘reference'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up reference for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer