I recently moved from babel to polyglossia because in my thesis I am using English, Sanskrit and Kannada as equally weighted primary languages.

When I use the command \printbibliography{}, it headlines the section as "Bibliography" instead of "References".

Is there any way to get it to say "References" instead? My university insists upon it.

I am aware of various solutions published on this stack similar to this


but they probably apply only to babel as they have no effect on my document.

Any ideas?

  • You can stick to babel if you want, because it supports these three languages. Jun 22, 2021 at 7:34
  • \printbibliography[title=References] should work. Jun 22, 2021 at 7:42
  • @JavierBezos this is true indeed. Did not realize babel can do non latin languages/scripts. Thanks. Jun 22, 2021 at 16:36
  • @UlrikeFischer this works perfectly. Thank you Jun 22, 2021 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


The default title for the bibliography in an article-like class is "References", in a report/book-like class it is "Bibliography". These names are stored in \refname and \bibname, respectively.

It is a bit tricky to overwrite \refname and \bibname directly, since both biblatex and polyglossia/babel redefine these strings when the language is changed. That means that a change you make may be made undone at begin document (when the document language is set up) or whenever languages are switched.

With a current version of biblatex the prettiest solution probably uses \DeclarePrintbibliographyDefaults


\usepackage[backend=biber, style=authoryear]{biblatex}



Lorem \autocite{sigfridsson}



But for a one-off you could just use


instead of \printbibliography

In biblatex contexts, biblatex controls \bibname and uses its bibstring bibliography for that, so

  bibliography = {References},

would also work.

  • Wow this is an amazingly detailed answer! Thank you so much. I never really learned latex the way one would learn a programming language. Just figured it out as I went along. Your response helps me tremendously in understanding whats going on. For now I will start with \DeclarePrintbibliographyDefaults{title=\refname} Thanks again! Jun 22, 2021 at 16:37
  • @RanjithHegde If the answer helped you resolve your question, you may want to accept it to signal to other people that the question is answered. See tex.stackexchange.com/help/someone-answers
    – moewe
    Jun 22, 2021 at 19:16

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