Definition of referent in English:

referent

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)’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But in the following passage the syntax is such that the referent of the word lap is ambiguous.’
    • ‘Geoff Pullum complains about the use of the count noun troop for individual, rather than collective, referents.’
    • ‘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).

Pronunciation:

referent

/ˈref(ə)rənt/