Learn English – the noun for someone who receives a referral?


When a referrer (noun) gives a referral (noun) to another person, what is the term (noun) used for the recipient of the referral? "The referred" may work, but am I missing another term? "Referred" indicates past-tense, but I intend to use the term in future and present tense as well.

Best Answer

Neither referent nor referee seems quite suitable to denote the person who receives a referral. Meanings of some relevant words include:
referent: “That which is referenced”
referee: “A person who writes a letter of reference or provides a reference by phone call for someone”
referrer: “A person who refers another”
referral: “The act or process of transferring someone or something to another, of sending by reference, or referring” (or commonly, the documents for the transfer)

In a common scenario, Doctor A (the referrer or referee) writes a letter to specialist Doctor B (the referral recipient) about patient C (the referred) who needs special treatment. From the Doctors' points of view, B is not a referent, referee, referrer, or referral, but can be called (accurately) a referral recipient or could be called (inaccurately?) a referred doctor. The doctors are likely to call the patient a referral but if pedantic might say referred patient. The doctors could also refer to the patient as the referred. The patient might call B a referral or a referred doctor, but is more likely to say something like “I was referred to Doctor B”. All of them call the letter of referral a referral.

In a similar but commercial scenario, the referral recipient (the party to whom the referred is referred) might be called an endorsed party, but could probably be called just the endorsed without confusion.