One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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)’
- ‘Furthermore, demonstrative nominal and demonstrative pronominal anaphors appeared to function quite differently in expressing differences in transition stages of discourse referents.’
- ‘But in the following passage the syntax is such that the referent of the word lap is ambiguous.’
- ‘Meaning postulates are not about the sense of words but about their referents.’
- ‘This message, even when presented figuratively, uses extra linguistic referents to bring it in touch with the reality around us.’
- ‘Geoff Pullum complains about the use of the count noun troop for individual, rather than collective, referents.’
Mid 19th century: from Latin referent- ‘bringing back’, from the verb referre (see refer).
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