late 14c., representen, "show, display, express; bring to mind by description," also "to symbolize, serve as a sign or symbol of (something else, something abstract); serve as the type or embodiment of;" also be a representative of" (the authority of another).
This is from Old French representer "present, show, portray" (12c.) and directly from Latin repraesentare "make present, set in view, show, exhibit, display," from re-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see re-), + praesentare "to present," literally "to place before." Latin praesentare is from praesens, "present, at hand, in sight; immediate; prompt, instant; contemporary," itself from the present participle of the verb præesse "be before (someone or something), be at hand," from prae- "before" (see pre-) + esse "to be" (from PIE root *es- "to be").
Specifically in legal actions, "speak and act with authority on behalf of another by deputed right," by 1500. Also from c. 1500 as "describe as having a specified character or quality." The legislative sense "be accredited deputy for (a body of people) in a legislative assembly" is attested from 1650s.
The meaning "serve as a specimen or example of" is by 1858, at first usually passive (the Dead Rabbits were represented by, etc.). Related: Represented; representing.
1580s, "serving to portray or symbolize," from French representatif (early 14c.) or directly from Medieval Latin repraesentativus, from stem of Latin repraesentare "show, exhibit, display" (see represent).
Meaning "standing for others, acting as a substitute or agent for another" is from 1620s. Specifically in the political sense of "holding the place of, and acting for, a larger body of people in the government or legislature" it is recorded from 1620s; the meaning "pertaining to or founded on representation of the people, having citizens represented by chosen persons" is from 1640s. Related: Representatively (mid-15c.).
c. 1400, representacioun, "image, likeness symbolic memorial," from Old French representacion (14c.) and directly from Latin repraesentationem (nominative repraesentatio), "a bringing before one, a showing or exhibiting," noun of action from past-participle stem of repraesentare "show, exhibit, display" (see represent (v.)).
The sense of "act of presenting to the mind or imagination" is attested by 1640s. The meaning "statement made in regard to some matter" is from 1670s. Legislative sense of "fact of representing or being represented" is by 1769, thus "share or participation in legislation, etc., by means of regularly chosen or appointed delegates; the system by which communities and societies have a voice in their own affairs and the making of their laws."
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be."
It forms all or part of: absence; absent; am; Bodhisattva; entity; essence; essential; essive; eu-; eucalyptus; Eucharist; Euclidean; Eudora; Eugene; eugenics; eulogy; Eunice; euphemism; euphoria; euthanasia; homoiousian; improve; interest; is; onto-; Parousia; present (adj.) "existing at the time;" present (n.2) "what is offered or given as a gift;" proud; quintessence; represent; satyagraha; sin; sooth; soothe; suttee; swastika; yes.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit asmi, Hittite eimi, Greek esti-, Latin est, Old Church Slavonic jesmi, Lithuanian esmi, Gothic imi, Old English eom, German ist.
late 14c., deputacioun, "appointment or authority to represent or act for another or others," noun of action from depute (v.). From 1732 as "person or persons authorized to represent or act for others."
late 14c., refiguren, "represent; represent again" (to the mind), from re- "again, back" + figure (v.) or else from Latin refigurare. Related: Refigured; refiguring; refiguration.