Definition of referent in English:

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referent

Pronunciation: /ˈref(ə)rənt/

noun

Linguistics
The thing that a word or phrase denotes or stands for: “the Morning Star” and “the Evening Star” have the same referent (the planet Venus)
More example sentences
  • 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.

Origin

Mid 19th century: from Latin referent- 'bringing back', from the verb referre (see refer).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ref·er·ent

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