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Referent - the thing that a symbol (name, expression, sign, etc.) stands for. That is, the actual thing that is being referred to when the symbol is used.

Example 1: if someone points at a dog and says, "there is a dog," the specific animal being pointed to is the referent for the name "dog."

Example 2: in the sentence "Mary saw me," the referent of the word "Mary" is the particular person called Mary who is being spoken of, while the referent of the word "me" is the person uttering the sentence.

Example 3: in the sentence, "one takes refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha," the referent for the word "Dharma" is the actual teachings of the buddha, also known as Buddhadharma, or Buddhavana.


Further reading