Meaning of referent in English:


Pronunciation /ˈrɛf(ə)r(ə)nt/

Translate referent into Spanish


  • The thing in the world that a word or phrase denotes or stands for.

    ‘‘the Morning Star’ and ‘the Evening Star’ have the same referent (the planet Venus)’
    • ‘Meaning postulates are not about the sense of words but about their referents.’
    • ‘But in the following passage the syntax is such that the referent of the word lap is ambiguous.’
    • ‘Furthermore, demonstrative nominal and demonstrative pronominal anaphors appeared to function quite differently in expressing differences in transition stages of discourse referents.’
    • ‘Geoff Pullum complains about the use of the count noun troop for individual, rather than collective, referents.’
    • ‘This message, even when presented figuratively, uses extra linguistic referents to bring it in touch with the reality around us.’


Mid 17th century (denoting a word indicating a grammatical relation): from Latin referent- ‘bringing back’, from the verb referre (see refer).