Referral vs Reference what difference

what is difference between Referral and Reference



refer +‎ -al


  • (General American) IPA(key): /ɹɪˈfɝəl/
  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ɹɪˈfɜːɹəl/
  • Rhymes: -ɜːɹəl


referral (countable and uncountable, plural referrals)

  1. The act or process of transferring someone or something to another, of sending by reference, or referring.
  2. (slang) A document used by schools detailing some form of a student’s misbehavior and listing the actions taken before and after the student’s receipt of the referral.


For information on how references should be handled on Wiktionary, see Wiktionary:References



From Middle French référence, from Medieval Latin referentia, nominative neuter plural of referēns, present participle of referō (return, reply, literally carry back).

Morphologically refer +‎ -ence.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɹɛf.(ə)ɹəns/
  • (obsolete) IPA(key): /ˈɹɛfəɹɛns/
  • Hyphenation: ref‧er‧ence


reference (countable and uncountable, plural references)

  1. (literary or archaic) A relationship or relation (to something).
  2. A measurement one can compare to.
  3. Information about a person, provided by someone (a referee) with whom they are well acquainted.
  4. A person who provides this information; a referee.
  5. A reference work.
  6. (attributive) That which serves as a reference work.
  7. The act of referring: a submitting for information or decision.
  8. (semantics) A relation between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another object.
  9. (academic writing) A short written identification of a previously published work which is used as a source for a text.
  10. (academic writing) A previously published written work thus indicated; a source.
  11. (computing) An object containing information which refers to data stored elsewhere, as opposed to containing the data itself.
  12. (programming, character entity) A special sequence used to represent complex characters in markup languages, such as ™ for the ™ symbol.
  13. (obsolete) Appeal.


Derived terms


See also

  • sense
  • handle


reference (third-person singular simple present references, present participle referencing, simple past and past participle referenced)

  1. To provide a list of references for (a text).
  2. To refer to, to use as a reference.
  3. To mention, to cite.
  4. (programming) To contain the value that is a memory address of some value stored in memory.

Usage notes

Some authorities object to the use of reference as a verb with a meaning other than “provide a list of references for,” preferring refer to or cite in these cases. Others allow the meaning “refer to” but reject “mention.” Nevertheless, the proscribed usages are common in both writing and speech.

Related terms

  • referee
  • referent
  • referential
  • relate
  • relation



Further reading

  • reference in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • reference in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • reference at OneLook Dictionary Search

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