This is just something I have been obsessing with today. I work in the commercial/industrial electrical field and often involved in training apprentices. Several places in the curriculum the texts have various mentionings of "referencing" the neutral conductor to ground. Yet, nowhere can I find a definition of reference that fits this context other than the generic from Wikipedia: "Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another object." So, fine of course I know we bond (connect) the neutral to the ground via a bonding strip or something similar at our service equipment or a separately derived system. Great. I actually do understand quite a bit of the physics behind grounding, ground faults, why you don't repeat the ground-neutral bond in the same electrical system, and I have no known misunderstandings in the general area.
My issue is with the usage of this term. Why use the term "referenced" ...I feel there must be some concept being expressed that is going over my head. And I have seen many articles that mention "ground referenced" this or that. And from what I gather the things mentioned are connected to ground. So what is this reference thing. If anybody can help me out with a definition I would be very appreciative. Like in the form of "reference, verb: the action of..." that kind of definition. Thanks!