[rep-ri-zen-tey-shuh-nl, -zuh n-]


of or relating to representation.
representing or depicting an object in a recognizable manner: representational art.

Origin of representational

First recorded in 1850–55; representation + -al1
Related formsun·rep·re·sen·ta·tion·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for representational

Contemporary Examples of representational

  • The idea of placing atop this perfect thing a big granite planith surmounted by a representational bronze ... ugh.

  • In fact, when used correctly (i.e., by the Democrats), the filibuster can help right this representational wrong.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Liberal Case for Stonewalling

    Samuel P. Jacobs

    January 5, 2011

  • Voit documents a perceptual anomaly and allows it to trick us—or not—without any representational manipulation.

    The Daily Beast logo
    This Is Not a Tree

    Philip Gefter

    January 7, 2010

Historical Examples of representational

  • On the functional theory of ideas, their value does not rest at all upon their representational nature.

  • His books are neither documentary nor representational; his characters are symbols of human desires and motives.


    James Branch Cabell

  • To justify our presence there the only thing demanded of us is that we shall have felt the representational impulse.

    Personality in Literature

    Rolfe Arnold Scott-James

British Dictionary definitions for representational



fine arts depicting or attempting to depict objects, scenes, figures, etc, directly as seen; naturalistic
of or relating to representation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for representational

1855, from representation + -al (1). Specifically of visual arts from 1923. Related: Representationally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper