representative

adjective
rep·​re·​sen·​ta·​tive | \ˌre-pri-ˈzen-tə-tiv \

Definition of representative 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : serving to represent

2a : standing or acting for another especially through delegated authority

b : of, based on, or constituting a government in which the many are represented by persons chosen from among them usually by election

3 : serving as a typical or characteristic example a representative moviegoer

4 : of or relating to representation or representationalism

representative

noun

Definition of representative (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that represents another or others: such as

a(1) : one that represents a constituency as a member of a legislative body

(2) : a member of the house of representatives of the U.S. Congress or a state legislature

b : one that represents another as agent, deputy, substitute, or delegate usually being invested with the authority of the principal

c : one that represents a business organization

d : one that represents another as successor or heir

2 : a typical example of a group, class, or quality : specimen

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Other Words from representative

Adjective

representatively adverb
representativeness noun
representativity \ ˌre-​pri-​ˌzen-​tə-​ˈti-​və-​tē \ noun

Examples of representative in a Sentence

Adjective

The paintings are representative of English art in the early 19th century. The students chosen for the survey are a fairly representative sample of college students from across the U.S.

Noun

Do you know who your representatives are? The bill was introduced by Representative Smith. a representative of her age group
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The system was intended to be more representative and inclusive and the proposition passed, with just over 53% of the vote. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "What Is California's ‘Jungle’ Primary—And Why It Has Democrats Freaking Out," 4 June 2018 Since racial disparities in health and incarceration result in such a large number of missing black voters, an observer might ask: How truly representative is American democracy? David Cottrell, Washington Post, "Nearly 4 million black voters are missing. This is why.," 11 Apr. 2018 When reflecting an interest don’t get too literal, choose items that are representative but not theme-y. Marni Jameson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Putting the 'you' in your home," 14 Mar. 2018 That means surveys are less representative, less random, and more likely to miss trends. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Maybe Election Polls Aren't Broken After All," 12 Mar. 2018 This designation exemplifies some of the best congressional talent in our representative democracy. Joshua Stewart, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Rep. Susan Davis wins award for a worker-friendly office," 13 July 2018 These impersonal norms then facilitated Western institutions like individual rights, markets, and representative government. Kevin Lewis, BostonGlobe.com, "Looking for negative signals," 6 July 2018 In any case, average support for representative democracy in the United States is not low. Daniel Treisman, Washington Post, "Is democracy really in danger? The picture is not as dire as you think.," 19 June 2018 Critics say the partisan redistricting undermines representative democracy. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Sidesteps Major Legal Issues in Gerrymandering Cases," 18 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The decision came at the request of representatives of the Bride. Stephan Salisbury, Philly.com, "Painted Bride hearing for historical designation now on hold until fall," 13 July 2018 Mexico’s lower house now has the world’s fourth-highest percentage of female representatives after Rwanda, Bolivia and Cuba, the U.N. study says. Robbie Whelan, WSJ, "Women Test Mexico’s ‘Macho’ Political Culture With Big Electoral Gains," 12 July 2018 Online fan platform SpursWeb highlighted his discontent, with the Arsenal fan possibly bitter due to the fact zero of his club's representatives made the national squad after a dismal season. SI.com, "Arsenal-Supporting Twitter Troll Piers Morgan Blames Spurs Players for England's World Cup Exit," 12 July 2018 The 2018 Miss Ramona Scholarship Pageant and Teen Miss Ramona Pageant held at Ramona Mainstage ushered in a fresh set of community representatives. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Megan Kelly crowned 2018 Miss Ramona," 10 July 2018 About one in three Democratic senators and more than half of Democratic representatives support single-payer health care. Sally C. Pipes, Fortune, "Why Does the Left Want Universal Health Care? Britain’s Is on Its Deathbed," 10 July 2018 The victory was the first Cup win for Jones, a Joe Gibbs Racing driver nurtured by Toyota’s motorsports program and one of the leading representatives of the young group of drivers expected to gain traction over the next few years. Mike Hembree, USA TODAY, "Erik Jones scores first career NASCAR Cup win in wreck fest at Daytona," 7 July 2018 Jordan, a founder of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of the most conservative representatives, is a staunch ally of President Donald Trump and is frequently mentioned as a possible replacement for the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. NBC News, "Powerful GOP Rep. Jim Jordan accused of turning blind eye to sexual abuse as Ohio State wrestling coach," 3 July 2018 Granger was one of 419 representatives who voted to impose new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea in 2017 — a law that also gave Congress the power to limit Trump's ability to lift those sanctions, a story in the Texas Tribune said. Mitch Mitchell, star-telegram, "Fort Worth Congresswoman Kay Granger in Moscow meeting with Russian officials," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'representative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of representative

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1635, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

23 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for representative

The first known use of representative was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for representative

representative

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of representative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: typical of a particular group of people or of a particular thing

: including examples of the different types of people or things in a group

: having people who are chosen in elections to act or speak for or in support of the people who voted for them

representative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of representative (Entry 2 of 2)

: someone who acts or speaks for or in support of another person or group

: a member of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress or of a state government

: a person or thing that is typical of a group

representative

adjective
rep·​re·​sen·​ta·​tive | \ˌre-pri-ˈzen-tə-tiv \

Kids Definition of representative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : serving to portray The painting is representative of a battle.

2 : carried on by people elected to act for others a representative government

3 : being a typical example of the thing mentioned This song is representative of the blues.

representative

noun

Kids Definition of representative (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a typical example (as of a group or class)

2 : a person who acts for others (as in a legislature and especially in the House of Representatives of the United States or of a state)

representative

adjective
rep·​re·​sen·​ta·​tive

Legal Definition of representative 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : serving to represent

2a : standing or acting for another especially through delegated authority an agent acting in a representative capacity

b : of, based on, or constituting a government in which the people are represented by individuals chosen from among them usually by election

3 : of or relating to representation

representative

noun

Legal Definition of representative (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that represents another or others in a special capacity: as

a : one that represents a constituency as a member of a legislative or other governing body specifically : a member of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress or a state legislature

b : one that represents another as agent, deputy, substitute, or delegate and that usually is invested with the authority of the principal

c : one that represents or stands in the place of a deceased person : personal representative

d : one that represents another as successor or heir

e : one named as the plaintiff or defendant in a class action to litigate on behalf of the class

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