Etymology
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ref

1899 (n.), 1929 (v.); short for referee. Related: Reffed; reffing.

updated on April 13, 2012

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Definitions of ref from WordNet

ref (n.)
(sports) the chief official (as in boxing or American football) who is expected to ensure fair play;
Synonyms: referee
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.