I am editing a document for a friend. The use of the word "referenced" in this sentence bothers me, but it may be okay. "He referenced a dictionary and used guidewords to help him locate the word." Is "referenced" used properly in this sentence?
Sorry - "guide words" is two words. Those are the words at the top of the dictionary page that indicate which words are found on those pages. Thank you for your response. I guess it bothered me because it sounds too much like using "conference" as a verb -- "She conferenced with the parent about her child's performance." It just makes more sense to me to use "conferred" there.

Thank you so much for responding. This seems to be a UK site. Are you in the UK?

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Yes, it's fine.

But I'm not sure what 'guidewords' are. Where did he find them?

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 anonymous's reply was promoted to an answer.

No, Canada.

No, your friend should say "He referred to a dictionary." To reference means "to supply with a reference" or "to cite as a reference."
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Thank you!
Yes indeed thank you for holding the line. Sadly, a lot of less educated people than you would disagree; 'to reference' is gaining popular ground as a proper usage where it simply means 'to refer to', and nothing to do with references in a volume. I sense you would agree with me that this is ignorant, born, I think, of a liking for the pomposity of it in someone who is shaky in English and wishes to cover it.
Anonymous, you need to consult some dictionaries.


: the act of mentioning something in speech or in writing : the act of referring to something or someone


. To cite as a reference: The monograph doesn't reference any peer-reviewed article

  1. to make a reference to; refer to⇒ he referenced Chomsky, 1956


I'd say the popular ground has already been gained and it's not exactly an ignorant position held by less-educated people.
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This sounds more right.
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