refer-v; 4 Senses

Sense Number 1: attribute the cause or source to something else

Commentary: Syntax Includes: NP1 REFER NP2 to NP3[cause] NP1 REFER NP3[cause] NP2

They referred the high gains to the timing of their investment.
He referred his success to her advice.

VerbNet: NM
FrameNet: NM
PropBank: NM

Sense Number 2: make mention of or apply to, classify as, describe

Commentary: Syntax Includes: NP1 REFER PP NP1 REFER PP{to NP} ADVP[attribute]

Metafiction refers to the effect when a story is interrupted to remind the audience of something.
I am referring to people who talk during movies and buy Spice Girls CDs
He refers to his professors by their name.
I heard him refer to her sister as "the princess".
He always refers to the house as his "refuge".
In her autobiography she occasionally refers to her unhappy schooldays.
The new salary scale only refers to company managers and directors.

VerbNet: relate-86.2-2
FrameNet: Referring_by_name
PropBank: refer.01
WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7

Sense Number 3: direct to a source of help or information

Commentary: Syntax Includes: NP1[agent[human]] REFER NP2[patient[human]] to NP3[goal] NP1[agent[human]] REFER NP3[goal] to NP2[patient[human]]

My doctor referred me to a hospital specialist.
The High Court has referred the case to the Court of Appeal.
He referred me to his last employer for a recommendation.
The reader is constantly referred back to the introduction.
I referred him to a history book.

VerbNet: contribute-13.2
FrameNet: NM
PropBank: refer.02
WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 4

Sense Number 4: reference or consult for help or information

Commentary: Syntax Is: NP1 REFER PP
NOTE: implies physically looking at the source (in most cases)

He referred to a history book for historical dates.
Please refer to your syllabus.
She spoke for an hour without once referring to her notes.

VerbNet: NM
FrameNet: NM
PropBank: refer.03
WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 5