Etymology
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representative (adj.)

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.).

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sample (v.)

1767, "test by taking a sample, select a specimen of," from sample (n.). As "present samples or specimens of" by 1870. Earlier it had meant "to be a match for" (1590s); "set an example" (c. 1600), sense now obsolete in this word. Related: Sampled; sampling.

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sample (n.)

c. 1300, saumple, "something which confirms a proposition or statement, an instance serving as an illustration" (a sense now obsolete in this word), from Anglo-French saumple, which is a shortening of Old French essample, from Latin exemplum "a sample," or a shortening of Middle English ensaumple (see example (n.)).

The meaning "small quantity (of something) from which the general quality (of the whole) may be inferred" (later usually in a commercial sense) is recorded from early 15c. The sense of "specimen for scientific sampling" is by 1878; the sense in statistics, "a portion drawn from a population for study to make statistical estimates of the whole," is by 1903. As an adjective from 1820.

The word also was used in Middle English in many of the senses now only found in example, such as "an incident that teaches a lesson; a model of action or conduct to be imitated."

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representative (n.)

1630s, "member of a legislative body (such as the British House of Commons or the U.S. House of Representatives) who represents a number of others," from representative (adj.). By 1640s in the sense of "example, type, sample, specimen."

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cross-section (n.)

"section of something made by a plane passing through it at a right angle to one of its axes," 1748, originally in engineering sketches, from cross (adj.) + section (n.). Figurative sense of "representative sample" is by 1903.

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sampler (n.)

early 14c., "pattern or model to be imitated," from sample (n.) in one of its older senses now found only in its source, example. The meaning "embroidery specimen by a beginner to show skill," (1520s) is probably originally meant as "piece of embroidery serving as an illustrative specimen," or "pattern to be copied or to fix and retain a valuable pattern." As "a collection of samples, a representative selection," from 1912.

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zoomorphic (adj.)

"representative of animals," especially representative of a god in the form of an animal, 1872, from zoo- "animal" + morphē "shape," a word of uncertain etymology, + -ic. Related: Zoomorphism.

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syndic (n.)

c. 1600, "a civil magistrate, especially in Geneva," from French syndic "chief representative" (14c.), from Late Latin syndicus "representative of a group or town," from Greek syndikos "public advocate," as an adjective, "belonging jointly to," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + dike "judgment, justice, usage, custom" (see Eurydice). Meaning "accredited representative of a university or other corporation" first found c. 1600. Related: Syndical.

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rep (1)

1705 as abbreviation of reputation (n.); upon rep "I swear it" was a common 18c. slang asseveration. As a shortening of repetition (n.) it is recorded from 1864, originally school slang; as a shortening of representative (n.), especially (but not originally) "sales representative," it is attested from 1896. As an abbreviation of repertory (company) it is recorded from 1925.

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swatch (n.)

1510s, "the countercheck of a tally" (Northumberland dialect), later "a tally attached to cloth sent to be dyed" (1610s, in Yorkshire), of unknown origin. Century Dictionary compares swath. Meaning "a sample piece of cloth" is from 1640s.

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