Origin of representative

1350–1400; Middle English (adj.) < Medieval Latin repraesentātīvus, equivalent to repraesentāt(us) (see representation) + -īvus -ive
Related formsrep·re·sent·a·tive·ly, adverbrep·re·sent·a·tive·ness, nounnon·rep·re·sent·a·tive, noun, adjectivenon·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ly, adverbnon·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ness, nouno·ver·rep·re·sent·a·tive, adjectiveo·ver·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ly, adverbo·ver·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ness, nounun·rep·re·sent·a·tive, adjectiveun·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ly, adverbun·rep·re·sent·a·tive·ness, noun

Synonyms for representative Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for representatives

Contemporary Examples of representatives

Historical Examples of representatives

British Dictionary definitions for representatives



a person or thing that represents another or others
a person who represents and tries to sell the products or services of a firm, esp a travelling salesmanOften shortened to: rep
a typical example
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
NZ a rugby player, football player, etc, chosen to represent a province in interprovincial sports


serving to represent; symbolic
  1. exemplifying a class or kind; typicala representative example of the species
  2. containing or including examples of all the interests, types, etc, in a groupa representative collection
acting as deputy or proxy for another or others
acting for or representing a constituency or the whole people in the process of governmenta representative council
of, characterized by, or relating to the political principle of representation of the peoplerepresentative government
of or relating to a mental picture or representation
Derived Formsrepresentatively, adverbrepresentativeness, 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

Word Origin and History for representatives



"serving to represent," late 14c., from Old French representatif (early 14c.), from Medieval Latin repraesentativus, from stem of Latin repraesentare (see represent). Meaning "standing for others" is from 1620s; in the political sense of "holding the place of the people in the government, having citizens represented by chosen persons" is first recorded 1620s. Meaning "pertaining to or founded on representation of the people" is from 1640s.



1640s, "example, type," from representative (adj.); 1690s in sense of "member of a legislative body."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

representatives in Culture


Popularly elected officials who serve in state legislatures and in the House of Representatives in Congress. Representing the local districts from which they are elected, representatives support the interests of their constituents by proposing bills and programs. Elected for two-year terms, representatives in Congress must be sensitive to their constituents' concerns in order to be reelected.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.