Definition of referee in English:



  • 1An official who watches a game or match closely to ensure that the rules are adhered to and (in some sports) to arbitrate on matters arising from the play.

    • ‘But the video referee ruled that Paul Johnson had been illegally dispossessed.’
    • ‘The shortage of hurling referees is still a problem.’
    • ‘He was a rugby football referee in his spare time at one time.’
    • ‘He has come across all of the top referees in the game and they have no problem with him.’
    • ‘Yet I thought the referees stopped some of the bouts too soon.’
    • ‘Pat White was an impartial referee in a game played in a sporting spirit.’
    • ‘During the match assistant referee Andrew Halliday was felled by a hurled coin and bottles were thrown.’
    • ‘There was one tackle that was so late the referee had blown for half-time.’
    • ‘A rugby player who was injured in an accident on the field sued the referee for failing to protect him from a falling scrum.’
    • ‘Mickey is a well known soccer referee and gave many years service to the game.’
    • ‘He has served as an ICC match referee and is a past chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board.’
    • ‘The Association, at present, is failing in its duty to referees, players and supporters alike.’
    • ‘The system has already been adopted by professional rugby referees south of the Border.’
    • ‘I asked the referee at half-time why he hadn't given a penalty.’
    • ‘Danny was one of the best Gaelic football referees in the county.’
    • ‘For a change, the video referee ruled against Saints and the try was rightly allowed to stand.’
    • ‘But, if your team loses you blame the referee or the yellow card.’
    • ‘The first round tie kicked off 25 minutes late when the appointed referee failed to turn up.’
    • ‘The referee's whistle came not a moment too soon and the celebrations began.’
    • ‘The results have been positive with one of our assistant referees officiating in the last World Cup tournament in France.’
    umpire, judge, referee's assistant, assistant referee, linesman, line judge, adjudicator, arbitrator, arbiter, mediator
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  • 2A person appointed to examine and assess for publication a scientific or other academic work.

    • ‘It was written by Satyendra Nath Bose and rejected by a referee for publication.’
    • ‘They relied on the journal referees who had accepted Igor's papers for publication in order to judge the finer points of the work.’
    • ‘We are all familiar with how journal editors can select referees to get the reports they want.’
    • ‘The author would like to thank two anonymous referees for their helpful comments.’
    • ‘It should really not come as a surprise when you have friends round for dinner and someone, gently, reminds you that you need two referees to support your Ph.D. application.’
    • ‘We acknowledge the very important role of the many men and women who agree to serve as academic referees for the manuscripts submitted to Sociology of Religion.’
    • ‘Mel and I got our report back from the referees with regards to the Unlawful Combatant article.’
    • ‘The author would like to thank Kim Van der Borght for his support and the anonymous referee for their valuable guidance and comments.’
    • ‘Cauchy and Legendre were appointed referees of this memoir.’
    • ‘I want to thank the staff, referees, and authors for their dedicated support of this publication.’
    • ‘Connor said that the referees were against publication.’
    • ‘A referee has huge power and what is written by a referee in his report is taken as the ‘gospel’.’
    • ‘As one of my referees pointed out, academic discourse does not allow for this kind of evidence alone.’
    • ‘In particular, I refer to solving problems with the writing and management of the referee process.’
    adjudicator, arbiter, assessor, evaluator, appraiser, examiner, moderator
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    1. 2.1British A person willing to testify in writing about the character or ability of someone, especially an applicant for a job.
      • ‘The paper also claimed that Ron Walker and Eddie McGuire have declined to be character referees in court on Thursday.’
      • ‘I need referees who are of upstanding character and have known me for at least a year and can attest to my upstanding character.’
      • ‘Neither of the referees she named on the application form - which she was asked to complete at the interview - was contacted.’
      • ‘While other character referees chose to scurry straight out of court or only give written statements, Andrew Vizard sat next to his brother before and after his evidence.’
      • ‘To start with, the referee has to be asked about the customer's character and creditworthiness and, generally, about his circumstances in life.’
      • ‘The line-up of character referees in the Federal Court on 21 February will be interesting to watch.’
      • ‘Brown is one of McConnell's referees on his application for Labour party general secretary job.’


  • [with object] Act as referee for.

    ‘the man who refereed the World Cup final’
    [no object] ‘refereeing for medical journals’
    • ‘The coach of Morgan's team was gracious enough to referee the match and stood in the middle as the game began.’
    • ‘I had a game there and found out that Tom was going to referee the game.’
    • ‘Transition year students from Ballinrobe Community School will referee the games.’
    • ‘It is difficult, but not impossible, to referee a rugby match if you don't have some intrinsic understanding of, and feeling for, the game.’
    • ‘Who in their right mind would risk life and limb to referee a local soccer or football match?’
    • ‘Both matches were refereed by Seamus Lalor of Stradbally.’
    • ‘In tournaments, players, if victorious, are asked to referee the following match on their court.’
    • ‘Incidentally, despite the heavy conditions and bone-numbing cold, this was a clean, entertaining game well refereed by Dessie McDonald from Whitecross.’
    • ‘I might not know a great deal about how to referee a game of football but I do know right from wrong.’
    • ‘Finally a special thank you to Noel O'Brien who refereed the home matches.’
    • ‘Brian White refereed the game effectively, working with a good team at both ends and on the sidelines.’
    • ‘He refereed many inter-county games and county finals all over Munster.’
    • ‘‘They are fantastic kids,’ said Georgian wrestling champion Levan Tediashvili, who refereed the match.’
    • ‘If there is one thing he should never be allowed to do again, it's referee a professional football match.’
    • ‘When Oliver was asked to referee the game, he was delighted and agreed immediately.’
    • ‘I enjoyed Kevin Dwyer's commentary but he tended to referee the game too much.’
    • ‘Deirdre's husband Sean refereed the match and indeed Deirdre herself refereed the minor game earlier in the day.’
    • ‘Joe Kernan agreed as much when he said: ‘In fairness, I thought Brian White refereed the game well.’’
    • ‘He refereed both hurling and football games for a number of years.’
    • ‘It takes a special person to referee a wrestling match.’
    umpire, judge, adjudicate, run, be in control of
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