reference ref‧er‧ence [ˈrefrəns] noun [countable]
1. with reference to formal used to say what you are writing or talking about, especially in business letters:

• With reference to your recent advertisement, I am writing to apply for the post of sales manager.

2. also ˈreference ˌnumber written abbreviation ref a group of numbers and letters that identify a document. A reference is often put at the top of a business letter:

• Thank you for your letter (reference JC/​216).

• Please quote the reference number above in all correspondence.

3. HUMAN RESOURCES a letter written by someone who knows you well, usually to a new employer, giving information about your character, abilities, or qualifications:

• We will be taking up (= getting ) references from your former employers.

• No employee can insist upon being given a reference when he leaves a job.

4. a person who provides information about your character, abilities, or qualifications when you are trying to get a job; = referee:

• Could I ask you to act as one of my references?

5. FINANCE BANKING COMMERCE a report giving information on a company's business reputation and financial situation:

Bank references are sought by companies to ensure that those with whom they are trading are solvent and can pay for the goods supplied to them.

• We always ask for trade references (= from members of the customer's own trade ) from our customers.

ˌbanker's ˈreference also ˌbanker's enˈquiry BANKING
a statement given by a bank about the financial position of a business, given to another business, for example a supplier, who wants to decide whether or not to allow the business credit
6. terms of reference [plural] the agreed limits of what an official committee or report will deal with:

• The matter of compensation is not within the committee's terms of reference.

* * *

reference UK US /ˈrefərəns/ noun
[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(Cf. ↑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 — Cf. for reference
for future reference, ... — Cf. for future reference, ...
in/with reference to sb/sth — Cf. with reference to sth
terms of reference — Cf. terms of reference
See also BANK REFERENCE(Cf. ↑bank reference), CREDIT REFERENCE(Cf. ↑credit reference)
reference UK US /ˈrefərəns/ verb [T]
to refer to someone or something: »

He spoke about his ambitious plans, referencing writer and motivator Dale Carnegie.


See Diagram 3.1 referenced above.

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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  • reference — ► NOUN 1) the action of referring to something. 2) a mention or citation of a source of information in a book or article. 3) a letter from a previous employer testifying to someone s ability or reliability, used when applying for a new job. ►… …   English terms dictionary

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  • Reference — For help in citing references, see Wikipedia:Citing sources. For the Wikipedia Reference Desk, see Wikipedia:Reference desk. Reference is derived from Middle English referren, from Middle French rèférer, from Latin referre, to carry back , formed …   Wikipedia

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