Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Can the word "referable" be used to denote something that can be referenced and what is the difference between "referable" and "referenceable"?

share|improve this question
    
Apparently, this word is another way of explaining that websites can be "SEO Friendly" (SEO = Search Engine Optimization). Can you confirm it can be used that way? Thanks. jef –  user58574 Nov 30 '13 at 18:20

6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, referable can be used to denote something that can be referenced. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines referable as follows:

Capable of being referred, or considered in relation to something else; assignable; ascribable.

On the other hand, referenceable is not present in any of the English dictionaries I checked. I don't suggest using it.

share|improve this answer
    
It's just terrible that people don't use referrible much any longer, something that might have been inferrible by the general preference of Germanic -able suffixes over Latin -ible suffices when both are applicable. –  tchrist Aug 19 '13 at 18:04

The word 'referenceable' is commonly used in business. I am using it in an email right now but seeing as I am a little old school, I checked to see if it appears in any dictionaries yet. Alas, it does not.

share|improve this answer

In the IT industry, we use the word referenceable all the time. I don't see how "referable" and "referenceable" could possibly be interchanged.

Without getting into all of the dictionary definitions, the act of referring is to point to some information, thing, or person. For instance, someone can refer a friend to a doctor, or refer to an article in the newspaper, etc.

A reference would be an entity that can act as a source of validation. In normal pedestrian use, that might be a reference on a job application, or a satisfied customer, etc. A reference may or may not be the referrer. For instance, I could refer someone to a friend of mine who is a painter, and never have used the service. Therefore, I could not be a reference. I could also refer a friend to a plumber based on a great experience. In that case I would be the referrer and could be used as a reference.

The act of being referenceable (as we always utilize this term) is the ability to provide a reference to a prospective client, which requires that reference's consent. A lot of times in our industry, customers don't want to be used as a reference, no matter how satisfied they are. Usually it is for security reasons, or to protect competitive secrets. In this business, organizations willing to be used as references are rare, and because of this, extremely valuable. Especially in a business filled with custom solutions, a reference can lend credibility to a claim of being able to solve a particular complex problem.

If I sell a unique piece of technology to the CIA, and it solves a critical problem, they would never let me use them as a reference to another customer. Therefore, they are not "referenceable." We always ask our clients if "a successful solution would be referenceable." So, it's very common vernacular in our industry, and the meaning is very clear and more accurate than "referable."

share|improve this answer

If the word is truly commonly used in business, it is a word, even if the dictionaries have not yet caught up with it. One of the powerful aspects of English is its ability to acommodate the development of new words. I'm not sure there is distinction between referable and referenceable; I believe one could refer to a poem, for example, but might not be able to use it as a reference in a technical context. In which case a poem would be referable but not referenceable, and a technical guide would be referenceable and perhaps referable.

share|improve this answer

I am looking it up right now because I am copy editing a business proposal. The word "referable" is used in this case to refer to customers who are willing to be used as references for the kind of work being done, as in "These are referenceable customers."

share|improve this answer

I received an e-mail from the CFO of a vendor we work with stating "satisfied, referenceable customers" would be their goal for their new year.

I was communicating this to a colleague, and got the familiar squiggly-misspelled-word-line under the word in my typed message. When my right-mouse-click returned no suitable suggested correct spelling, I went to the internet to research. While it would appear that the word is accepted in the business community for its implied meaning, there has not been an official declaration by any familiarly known resource that it is in fact a legitimate word.

But language adapts. Shakespeare made up words that are now used regularly. Pop culture references will also invade our accepted speech. If you don’t believe me, google it.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.