[ rep-ri-zen-tuh-tiv ]
See synonyms for: representativerepresentatives on

  1. a person or thing that represents another or others.

  2. an agent or deputy: a legal representative.

  1. a person who represents a constituency or community in a legislative body, especially a member of the U.S. House of Representatives or a lower house in certain state legislatures.

  2. a typical example or specimen of a group, quality, or kind.

  1. serving to represent; representing.

  2. standing or acting for another or others.

  1. made up of representatives: a representative assembly.

  2. Government. of or relating to a system of governance by chosen representatives, usually elected from among a large group, as in representative democracy; representative government.

  3. exemplifying a group or kind; typical: a representative selection of Elizabethan plays.

  4. corresponding to or replacing some other species or the like, as in a different locality.

  5. of, relating to, or characteristic of representationalism.

  6. pertaining to or of the nature of a mental image or representation.

Origin of representative

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English (adjective), from Medieval Latin repraesentātīvus, from repraesentāt(us) “made present” (see representation) + -īvus -ive

Other words for representative

Other words from representative

  • rep·re·sent·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • rep·re·sent·a·tive·ness, noun
  • non·rep·re·sent·a·tive, noun, adjective
  • non·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • non·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ness, noun
  • o·ver·rep·re·sent·a·tive, adjective
  • o·ver·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ness, noun
  • un·rep·re·sent·a·tive, adjective
  • un·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • un·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use representative in a sentence

  • What is really going on here—in extremis—is representative government.

    Stop Bashing Kagan | Eric Alterman | May 11, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • In a system of representative government, the mass of people are almost always poorer than their candidates.

    Time to End Pantsuit-Gate | Linda Hirshman | November 15, 2009 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Another has chiefly considered the development of representative government and of parliamentary institutions.

    The Astronomy of the Bible | E. Walter Maunder
  • The chief object of this society was the foundation of an adequate representative Government.

    South America | W. H. Koebel
  • Louis Napoleon's usurpation is absolved, is made laudable to him, because it overthrew a representative government.

    August Comte and Positivism | John-Stuart Mill

British Dictionary definitions for representative


/ (ˌrɛprɪˈzɛntətɪv) /

  1. a person or thing that represents another or others

  2. a person who represents and tries to sell the products or services of a firm, esp a travelling salesman: Often shortened to: rep

  1. a typical example

  2. a person representing a constituency in a deliberative, legislative, or executive body, esp (capital) a member of the House of Representatives (the lower house of Congress): See also House of Representatives

  3. NZ a rugby player, football player, etc, chosen to represent a province in interprovincial sports

  1. serving to represent; symbolic

    • exemplifying a class or kind; typical: a representative example of the species

    • containing or including examples of all the interests, types, etc, in a group: a representative collection

  1. acting as deputy or proxy for another or others

  2. acting for or representing a constituency or the whole people in the process of government: a representative council

  3. of, characterized by, or relating to the political principle of representation of the people: representative government

  4. of or relating to a mental picture or representation

Derived forms of representative

  • representatively, adverb
  • representativeness, noun

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