Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To stand for; symbolize: The bald eagle represents the United States.
  • transitive v. To indicate or communicate by signs or symbols: Letters of the alphabet represent sounds.
  • transitive v. To depict in art; portray.
  • transitive v. To describe or present in words; set forth.
  • transitive v. To present clearly to the mind.
  • transitive v. To draw attention to by way of remonstrance or protest: Our parents represented to us the need for greater caution.
  • transitive v. To describe or put forward (a person or thing) as an embodiment of a specified quality.
  • transitive v. To serve as the official and authorized delegate or agent for.
  • transitive v. To act as a spokesperson for.
  • transitive v. To serve as an example of: The museum had several paintings representing the artist's early style.
  • transitive v. To be the equivalent of.
  • transitive v. To stage (a play, for example); produce.
  • transitive v. To act the part or role of.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To present again or anew; to present by means of something standing in the place of; to exhibit the counterpart or image of; to typify.
  • v. To portray by pictorial or plastic art; to delineate; as, to represent a landscape in a picture, a horse in bronze, and the like.
  • v. To portray by mimicry or action of any kind; to act the part or character of; to personate; as, to represent Hamlet.
  • v. To stand in the place of; to supply the place, perform the duties, exercise the rights, or receive the share, of; to speak and act with authority in behalf of; to act the part of (another); as, an heir represents his ancestor; an attorney represents his client in court; a member of Congress represents his district in Congress.
  • v. To exhibit to another mind in language; to show; to give one's own impressions and judgement of; to bring before the mind; to set forth; sometimes, to give an account of; to describe.
  • v. To serve as a sign or symbol of; as, mathematical symbols represent quantities or relations; words represent ideas or things.
  • v. To bring a sensation of into the mind or sensorium; to cause to be known, felt, or apprehended; to present.
  • v. To form or image again in consciousness, as an object of cognition or apprehension (something presentative, which was originally apprehended by direct presentation).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To present again or anew; to present by means of something standing in the place of; to exhibit the counterpart or image of; to typify.
  • transitive v. To portray by pictoral or plastic art; to delineate.
  • transitive v. To portray by mimicry or action of any kind; to act the part or character of; to personate.
  • transitive v. To stand in the place of; to supply the place, perform the duties, exercise the rights, or receive the share, of; to speak and act with authority in behalf of; to act the part of (another)
  • transitive v. To exhibit to another mind in language; to show; to give one's own impressions and judgement of; to bring before the mind; to set forth; sometimes, to give an account of; to describe.
  • transitive v. To serve as a sign or symbol of
  • transitive v. To bring a sensation of into the mind or sensorium; to cause to be known, felt, or apprehended; to present.
  • transitive v. To form or image again in consciousness, as an object of cognition or apprehension (something which was originally apprehended by direct presentation). See Presentative, 3.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To present again; specifically, to bring again before the mind.
  • To present in place of something else; exhibit the image or counterpart of; suggest by being like; typify.
  • To portray by pictorial or plastic art.
  • To portray, present, or exhibit dramatically.
  • To enact; personate; present by mimicry or action.
  • To state; describe or portray in words; give one's own impressions, idea, or judgment of; declare; set forth.
  • To supply the place or perform the duties or functions of; specifically, to speak and act with authority on behalf of; be a substitute for, or a representative of or agent for.
  • Specifically, to stand in the place of, in the right of inheritance.
  • To serve as a sign or symbol of; stand for; be understood as: as, mathematical symbols represent quantities or relations; words represent ideas or things.
  • To serve as a type or specimen of; exemplify; furnish a case or instance of: as, a genus represented by few species; a species represented by many individuals; especially, in zoögeog., to replace; fill the part or place of (another) in any given fauna: as, llamas represent camels in the New World; the Old World starlings are represented in America by the Icteridæ. See mimotype.
  • To image or picture in the mind; place definitely before the mind.
  • Synonyms To show, express.
  • 3 and To delineate, depict, draw.
  • n. Representation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. be the defense counsel for someone in a trial
  • v. point out or draw attention to in protest or remonstrance
  • v. create an image or likeness of
  • v. bring forward and present to the mind
  • v. express indirectly by an image, form, or model; be a symbol
  • v. be characteristic of
  • v. to establish a mapping (of mathematical elements or sets)
  • v. perform (a play), especially on a stage
  • v. be a delegate or spokesperson for; represent somebody's interest or be a proxy or substitute for, as of politicians and office holders representing their constituents, or of a tenant representing other tenants in a housing dispute
  • v. play a role or part
  • v. describe or present, usually with respect to a particular quality
  • v. be representative or typical for
  • v. take the place of or be parallel or equivalent to
  • v. form or compose
  • v. serve as a means of expressing something

Etymologies

Middle English representen, from Old French representer, from Latin repraesentāre, to show : re-, re- + praesentāre, to present; see present2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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  • Katy Perry's song, "California Gurls" contains the line, "California Gurls, represent. Put your hands up." While not unheard of, this is an instance of the intransitive 'represent' (Merriam-Webster notes it as 'slang')

    July 12, 2010