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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.).

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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Definitions of representative from WordNet
1
representative (n.)
a person who represents others;
representative (n.)
an advocate who represents someone else's policy or purpose;
Synonyms: spokesperson / interpreter / voice
representative (n.)
a member of the United States House of Representatives;
Synonyms: congressman / congresswoman
representative (n.)
an item of information that is typical of a class or group;
2
representative (adj.)
serving to represent or typify;
a representative modern play
representative moviegoers
representative (adj.)
standing for something else;
the bald eagle is representative of the United States
representative (adj.)
being or characteristic of government by representation in which citizens exercise power through elected officers and representatives;
representative government as defined by Abraham Lincoln is government of the people, by the people, for the people
From wordnet.princeton.edu