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Definitions of reference

(also: letter of reference/reference letter) a letter containing information about you and written by someone who knows you well, especially one to be sent to a potential employer, university or landlord etc

A good character reference letter helped her get employment.

a mention of something in a speech, a piece of writing or an artistic work etc

We should normally avoid references to commercial products.

a letter in which an employer, former employer, teacher, professor, or other authority figure recommends an employee to a potential future employer for a new job

She asked her college tutor for a reference with regard to employment.