Definition of representative in US English:



  • 1Typical of a class, group, or body of opinion.

    ‘these courses are representative of those taken by most Harvard undergraduates’
    • ‘For one thing, we will have to ignore a good deal of commentary presented by nameless characters, by representative characters, and by lay figures who appear for one important speech and are never seen again.’
    • ‘Much of this story is familiar to specialists in the field, above all through the varied and often exhaustive archival research done in Germany over the years for each of the representative museums.’
    • ‘Secondly, why would these representative strategies indicate that Julie's mind is ‘a place of absence’?’
    • ‘A representative farm that utilizes typical production methods in the major cotton production region is constructed for Georgia.’
    • ‘The entrant must perform a program that includes a significant representative selection from each of the following.’
    • ‘Jane is both an effectively realized individual and a representative figure, a spokesperson for the African American experience from slavery times to the era of the civil rights movement.’
    • ‘But the poem is representative not exceptional.’
    • ‘The suppliers of bond ETFs get around the liquidity problem by using representative sampling, which simply means tracking only a sufficient number of bonds to represent an index.’
    • ‘You're dealing with very iconic, representative characters.’
    • ‘It seems likely that it was put here as a reference for the other two, since many of the scenes from this movie appear in the documentary also included in this set, and as a representative talkie he did for MGM.’
    • ‘This has involved the development of new representative mechanisms at the European level which maintain the regulatory gap through the enduring dominance of subsidiarity.’
    • ‘The more representative 1.4 S model, which also has air conditioning, keyless entry, power windows and mirror adjustment, costs €18,695.’
    • ‘An official of the independent Financial Supervisory Service said that as of this month, seven Japanese banks have branches in South Korea and six others have representative offices.’
    • ‘‘We really need a representative office in China,’ says Wang.’
    • ‘Maximizing utility for increasing risk aversion shows the decreases in profit that the representative farm would be willing to accept for decreases in variability of net returns.’
    • ‘Here is a representative synopsis of current opinion.’
    • ‘She therefore rejects her position as someone who has ‘special significance’ in the narrative by refusing to play the role of representative victim assigned to her.’
    • ‘Consider the following situation: a representative consumer is faced with a rise in price of a product he has been buying, even though its price to begin with is relatively high.’
    • ‘The distinction is now moot; knowledge rhetorically induced from a representative anecdote will ironically contain both of Ransom's two knowledges.’
    • ‘In other words, her work is meant to compliment representative women as a means of facing down both negative female representations and the feminine false consciousness that participates in their transmission.’
    typical, prototypical, characteristic, illustrative, indicative
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    1. 1.1 Containing typical examples of many or all types.
      ‘a representative sample of young people in the South’
      • ‘The sheer number of illustrations is one of the book's main strengths and it is reasonably unlikely that any attempt to research a specific decanter will fail to locate a representative example.’
      • ‘A soil probe can help provide a representative sample.’
      • ‘No figures are given for the number of individuals interviewed, but instead we are informed that data was taken from a representative sample of 202 companies.’
      • ‘It eliminated 21 industry groups that were either too small to provide a representative sample or were of little relevance to most readers.’
      • ‘A representative sample poll of 4,000 people has a plus or minus one per cent chance of correctly calling the outcome of a national or constituency vote.’
      • ‘Follow these instructions carefully to avoid contamination and to obtain a representative sample.’
      • ‘It is hard to say how representative a sample this is.’
      • ‘Getting a representative sample of such a diverse and unconcentrated industry is difficult but essential.’
      • ‘A representative sample of this spectacular art collection is exhibited on three floors in 43 galleries, some of which are graced by exquisite stucco ceilings.’
      • ‘The final data is then weighted to these demographic parameters as a final check to ensure the sample is entirely representative.’
      • ‘We shall discuss some representative examples.’
      • ‘By getting e-mail addresses of a representative sample of the electorate, we can invite 50,000 to 100,000 people to participate at once.’
      • ‘Nor can it be claimed that the participants constitute a statistically representative sample of the industry.’
      • ‘A show currently at New York's Janos Gat Gallery features Ross's latest works, along with representative examples of earlier series.’
      • ‘The final selection of student projects for the Archiprix is not a representative sample of what is going on below the surface.’
      • ‘A wide blade putty knife is excellent for breaking up the soil and insuring a representative sample.’
      • ‘Let's consider his latest among a representative sample of 2004's notable short story collections.’
      • ‘Collect a representative sample - no less than 5 lb in a paper bag (good idea to double bag) and directly transport or mail to a laboratory for testing.’
      • ‘As a result, the dance companies whose data appears here are not a scientifically representative sample of the dance field as a whole.’
      • ‘A representative sample of Australian sound designs, from both indoor and outdoor sites help to communicate this national practice.’
  • 2(of a legislative or deliberative assembly) consisting of people chosen to act and speak on behalf of a wider group.

    • ‘Thus, the institutions of the European Union that should be representative bodies are indeed so.’
    • ‘As the representative body for sporting shooting in the UK, It is launching the campaign of training and awareness to ensure that all airgun owners can practise their sport legally and safely.’
    • ‘The Minister for Health, Micheal Martin, will pitch the proposals to a huge range of interest groups and representative bodies.’
    • ‘The size of this representative governing body has changed: formerly made up of 121 members, the new council has approximately 100 voting members.’
    • ‘For instance, trade unions, farmers' groups and other representative bodies are among the most powerful lobbyists.’
    • ‘In the UK, large companies have traditionally operated a system of workers' councils which also allow workers a say in the management of the business by allocating them places on such a representative body.’
    • ‘Nacba, which is the representative body of over 270 Irish gift stores, works closely with Irish manufacturers.’
    • ‘The Conference of Religious in Ireland, the representative body for the orders, recently called for more land to be made available for social housing.’
    • ‘Their representative body, the Irish Hardware and Building Materials Association, was not prepared to make an official comment.’
    • ‘The company told the Blessington Forum, a representative body of the town's businesses, that it was considering turning the dump into a legal landfill.’
    • ‘A Loya Jirga, a sort of representative national assembly summoned to sanction a draft new constitution, seemed to have been unimpressed.’
    • ‘Kubba advocates quick national elections for a second, broadly representative council to perform functions such as drafting a constitution.’
    • ‘Industry sources said representative bodies such as the American Chamber of Commerce could play an increasingly important role in future.’
    • ‘As the representative body of the British Jewish community, we have received a number of complaints about it from Jewish people in many parts of the world.’
    • ‘Leading trade union figures and the employers' representative body, Ibec, will battle it out over the next two months, with no guarantees that a new partnership deal will result from the talks.’
    • ‘The Exhibition has been organised by the Angolan Industrial Association, a representative body for the Angolan business sector.’
    • ‘The advertising industry's representative body, the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland, welcomed the news.’
    • ‘Respond drafted an alternative plan and then entered into consultations with locals, representative organisations and councillors from the area.’
    1. 2.1 (of a government or political system) based on elected representatives.
      ‘free elections and representative democracy’
      • ‘The reason we have representative government is because we elect these people to spend a little time thinking that the issues, sometimes we don't have the time to do that.’
      • ‘There is still an opportunity for the Bush Administration to set Iraq onto a political path leading to representative democracy.’
      • ‘The draft constitution claims that the workings of the union ‘shall be founded on the principle of representative democracy’.’
      • ‘The main prerequisite of representative democracy is based on an assumption that an average citizen enjoys free and equal access to any political debate.’
      • ‘But it is realistic to hope it can be better, that it can be somewhat stable, that the government can be somewhat representative and we can live with that.’
      • ‘Invariably, multiparty elections in Nigeria were meant to encourage the expression of the needs of different interest groups and thereby create a representative plurality that would equate to true democracy.’
      • ‘But perhaps the most important issue you start to confront is that of our representative democracy becoming ingrained, insular, and angry.’
      • ‘Unfavorable governments in favor of big business therefore remain in power at the cost of a representative government.’
      • ‘The United States is a responsive representative democracy.’
      • ‘It's really a strategic interest of the U.S. to see progress toward representative government and free government and free markets and economic development.’
      • ‘Dempsey claimed it was strangling national political debate and undermining effective representative parliamentary democracy.’
      • ‘It could, I suppose, be an agglomeration of similar moods, imaginatively totted up to form a persuasive total: mood as analogous to representative democracy.’
      • ‘Since by its very nature the power to issue money is unlimited, the new monetary regime flies in the face of the principle of representative government of limited and enumerated powers.’
      • ‘It is precisely to temper the passions of the people that we resort to representative rather than direct democracy.’
      • ‘All told, representative democracy was in a state of ‘collapse’.’
      • ‘Measured by Enlightenment standards, this is a perfectly representative democracy, answering individual wants in a time always tending towards ideal simultaneity.’
      • ‘Another northern area of the country declared itself the Republic of Puntland, and has made strides towards establishing a representative government, according to analysts.’
      • ‘If representative democracy worked properly there would be little to complain about if parliament chose to deliver (or, indeed, not to deliver) on social and economic rights.’
      • ‘I know she wanted to make democracy more representative, but were there certain pieces of legislation that she worked on to achieve that end?’
      • ‘None of this is an argument against representative government.’
      elected, elective, chosen, democratic, popular, nominated, appointed, commissioned
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  • 3Serving as a portrayal or symbol of something.

    ‘the show should be more representative of how women really are’
    • ‘Mr Kathrens has selected forty three of what he considers ‘the most representative of the styles and architectural progressions’ of New York's great houses.’
    • ‘Making the work force more representative of the population has always been one of his top goals.’
    • ‘I tried to make music that suited the artist and reflected the signature of that artist, and was very representative of who they were.’
    • ‘It is almost as if by preventing modern development the US has created the conditions for the re-emergence of a state of affairs more representative of the 14th or 15th centuries.’
    • ‘Toleration of different points of view and conclusions would be more representative of the open society.’
    • ‘Fuller's main interest, however, is not in religious thinkers who were most representative of their times but in those who rebelled against their times.’
    • ‘Did a majority of American film spectators live in large cities before the 1940s, or were small town and country viewers more representative of the overall audience?’
    • ‘He was perhaps the most original of African American poets and, in the breadth and variety of his work, assuredly the most representative of African American writers.’
    • ‘They are late pieces - simple, modest, and not very representative of the composer.’
    • ‘They are much more representative of modern European attitudes.’
    • ‘The song flies at an exceptional rate with Dolph screaming like a wild-man, which happens to be very representative of their live performance.’
    • ‘So in a way, it was a very positive iconic picture, which in a way was very representative of that point in time.’
    • ‘In the absence of a more refined critique, Gritten's polemic seems more representative of that special, English resistance to theory than of something more relevant and positive.’
    • ‘Thus the results will be more representative of the least advantaged children in New York.’
    • ‘Voting rights should be rejiggered to make the IMF more representative of the world, and a more attractive forum for Asian nations.’
    • ‘User's Guide has a few advantages over its predecessors: by benefit of its timing, it's much broader and perhaps more representative of their two decades of prodigious output.’
    • ‘The actors throw themselves around the space, with little heed for the physical risks that they take, and their physical movement is the most representative of their emotions.’
    • ‘The 125,000 Cubans who arrived from the port of Mariel in the spring of 1980 were more representative of the home country.’
    • ‘But with the online gaming explosion of recent years, gamers have become a more sophisticated lot, and are now more representative of the general population.’
    • ‘However, the business elite is scarcely more representative of the population than it was a century ago.’
    symbolic, emblematic, evocative
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    1. 3.1 (of art) representational.
      ‘the bust involves a high degree of representative abstraction’
      • ‘In a few paintings, abstract and representative imagery meet.’
      • ‘Johannesburg seems to be bringing sufficient elements and materials from which an artist could draw from when producing a true representative work of art.’
      • ‘The great three-bay Crucifixion in S. Giacomo, filled with incident and genre detail but controlled by a compositional rigour looking both to Giotto and to Roman relief sculpture, is representative.’
      • ‘Smith translates complicated images of ‘accidental realities’ into film and photography as representative modes, which may provide an illusion of control over life.’
  • 4Philosophy
    Relating to mental representation.


  • 1A person chosen or appointed to act or speak for another or others.

    ‘the Duke of Gloucester would attend the coronation as the representative of his father, King George V’
    • ‘The old woman's bowed head, her desire to disappear from the coppers' sight speaks volumes for the relationship between herself and the white representatives of the Australian State.’
    • ‘Services union Verdi said the plans had been forced through against the wishes of employee representatives.’
    • ‘The four-man team which visited Zambia for two days held talks with Bank of Zambia governor Caleb Fundanga on Monday before they wound up their tour with a corporate representatives meeting.’
    • ‘Most of the Socialist parties' leaders and their representatives in the Knesset came from those groups.’
    • ‘He refuses, but later does speak to Tribunal representatives, although still says he will not travel to give evidence.’
    • ‘Diplomats believe the employers' representatives could play a pivotal role in the Governing Body's deliberations.’
    • ‘Friends said it planned to focus on distributing its products, which include pensions and savings, through independent financial advisers and appointed representatives.’
    • ‘Grosso asked to speak to the GMAC representatives alone.’
    • ‘But such things insert a physical and optical barrier between electors and their representatives, the public and its servants.’
    • ‘The People's representatives have carte blanche to do exactly as they please.’
    • ‘It is a market fuelled by the huge Indian diaspora - even so, Christie's has just appointed a full-time representative in Mumbai.’
    • ‘However, we spoke with representatives of the other groups that have aligned with the PMA over the past few years, and all of them have said that they did not lose their identity.’
    • ‘Company representatives travel to Italy twice a year to inspect procedures and ensure quality.’
    • ‘A special Commission is appointed, representing clergy, bishops, laity and a representative of the Church overseas; the Prime Minister appoints the chairman.’
    • ‘However, most of them cannot speak English and cannot afford a legal representative.’
    • ‘All public representatives have to be sensible and intelligent and address this in a responsible way.’
    • ‘Aer Lingus is not speaking to Impact as a representative of cabin crew.’
    • ‘It has appointed a representative in Italy and is opening offices in the US and in Australia with Travel Partners this month.’
    • ‘Independently appointed public representatives are involved in all stages of the process.’
    • ‘The first resolution for the AGM covers bylaw changes related to the public representatives on the Professional Conduct Enquiry Committee.’
    spokesperson, spokesman, spokeswoman, agent
    deputy, substitute, stand-in, proxy, surrogate
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    1. 1.1 A person chosen or elected to speak and act on behalf of others in a legislative assembly or deliberative body.
      • ‘Indeed, the Government of Quebec sought to control new university programs by setting up a reviewing body comprising representatives of the various universities themselves.’
      • ‘Unions are institutions in which representatives negotiate on behalf of the membership and where leaders represent this membership in a variety of fora, including political ones.’
      • ‘To move in the opposite direction would be to further erode the position of Irish elected representatives, increasing that of an unelected judiciary.’
      • ‘Yet each of the local development bodies includes elected representatives on their boards.’
      • ‘A municipality must be the affair of its resident, and they must elect their representatives as stipulated by the Local Authorities act, but not all on the same day.’
      • ‘The permanent forum is a body of 16 representatives, half of them nominated by indigenous organisations and half by U.N. member states.’
      • ‘In 1996 the UDP elected two representatives to the Northern Ireland Forum.’
      • ‘As it is, it is difficult to understand why direct talks between all elected representatives and their respective parties are not already taking place as a matter of course.’
      • ‘Few women are in positions of real responsibility in Japanese commerce and only around five per cent of women are elected representatives in Japan's Parliament.’
      • ‘The California Chapter is a dynamic group, and they have elected the first Chapter representative to the Governing Council.’
      • ‘The Assembly included representatives not only of three counties of Pennsylvania, but also of the three lower counties of Delaware.’
      • ‘It was necessary to hold further elections for the two areas where vacancies occurred, and one representative was eventually elected with only 3 votes.’
      • ‘The British system of government is one where an executive body, appointed from the ranks of elected representatives, initiates policy and the legislative process.’
      • ‘It is their aim to have at least one representative elected to the Windhoek City Council.’
      • ‘A consensus in favour of Gurirab is steadily growing among the southern African states which have not had a local representative elected to the position since the establishment of the organisation.’
      • ‘While VUWSA exec members are elected representatives, that does not give them free license to decide what Victoria University as a whole supports.’
      • ‘The Sinn Fein assembly member said that Trimble was in breach of his legal obligations in his threat to refuse to nominate its representatives to the ministerial council and cross-border bodies.’
      • ‘Most elected representatives on the unionist side have benefited from a system of selection.’
      • ‘We want to make legislators and elected representatives accountable.’
      • ‘The document, obtained by this newspaper, was submitted earlier and was circulated on the day by council officials to the newly elected representatives.’
      member of parliament, mp, member
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    2. 1.2 A delegate who attends a conference, negotiations, legal hearing, etc., so as to represent the interests of another person or group.
      • ‘And the new agency can get involved in rule-making as the representative of injured workers.’
      • ‘It was not delegated to the representatives of the people, nor to so-called experts hired by them.’
      • ‘‘We are currently negotiating with employee representatives and we hope to shed 100 jobs over the next year,’ she said.’
      • ‘If your workplace is unionised, it is generally negotiated with union representatives.’
      • ‘Though many of the interest group representatives in favor of repeal indicated that the time for Glass-Steagall reform was urgent, legislators did not possess that same feeling of urgency.’
      • ‘Labour markets are notoriously complex to analyse, with many labour market outcomes being the result of complex negotiations between employers and labour representatives within a bilateral monopoly framework.’
      • ‘July 31 2001: Gateway tells its 900 staff to appoint employee representatives for consultations with the company over future redundancies in Dublin.’
      • ‘The site was convincing enough to earn them an invite to a conference in Vienna as representatives of the WTO.’
      • ‘About 160 Japanese company representatives attended the seminar.’
      • ‘They have the right to talk to employees and safety representatives, take photographs and samples, and to impound dangerous equipment.’
      • ‘One type typically included branch/unit Heads, or their delegated representatives.’
      • ‘The Labour Court is composed of union leaders and representatives of the employers association - a typical corporative construction.’
      • ‘About 100 workers' representatives attended the hearing, but Sony was only represented by two Indonesian assistant managers.’
      • ‘If they showed interest, a further meeting with some employee representatives could be held to outline a proposal to submit to the next senior management meeting in a month's time.’
      • ‘Nebraska farmers and agribusiness representatives interested in learning about emerging technologies and sharing on-farm experiences founded the association.’
      • ‘For instance, in Germany there are much tighter institutional constraints and legislative requirements surrounding consultation with employees and their representatives than exist in the UK.’
      • ‘It was revealed on Wednesday this week that Meatco's management and employee representatives have failed to persuade employees of the Windhoek abattoir to work overtime.’
      • ‘In step two, managers, key employees and a Your Training Manager account representative attend a one-day classroom program at the customer's location.’
      • ‘NGO members as well as interested individuals and representatives attended the meeting from companies and relevant governmental agencies.’
      • ‘They are usually developed through a joint initiative between employers and employee representatives, with the help of retained professional advisers.’
      delegate, commissioner, ambassador, attaché, envoy, emissary, chargé, chargé d'affaires, commissary, deputy, aide
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    3. 1.3 An agent of a firm who travels to potential clients to sell its products.
      • ‘Rocks joined Alfred twenty years ago as a sales representative who traveled to music stores throughout North America.’
      • ‘‘Harwood's sales representatives already have relationships with the clients and know their needs and wants,’ he said.’
      • ‘GlaxoSmithKline, with its vast network of sales representatives around the world, markets and sells for other drug companies.’
      • ‘The glossy pamphlets are crammed with cosmetics, but this ritual has become less about racking up sales of lipstick and face cream and more about a hunt for people, specifically future Avon sales representatives.’
      • ‘We encouraged them to spend time with sales representatives.’
      • ‘For larger quantities, wholesale seed catalogues and seed company sales representatives may provide a wider selection of cultivars as well as wholesale pricing.’
      • ‘Wilbur-Ellis helps retail customers by making on-farm visits and providing agronomy support to the dealer's sales representatives, Ullom says.’
      • ‘Recently I have had a few e-mails from sales representatives in regional brokerage offices who say they are the only one in their large offices who understand this secular bear market.’
      • ‘He told me to ‘be a detective,’ and to grill product representatives with tough, thoughtful questions.’
      • ‘Gatekeepers can take a number of forms - a buying manager's personal assistant barring calls from sales representatives has the effect of screening out a number of possible choices.’
      • ‘If there is a question on the appropriate solvent for a product, check with a representative of the product manufacturer.’
      • ‘Many are extending their show specials, relying heavily on telephones and stepping up the one-on-one visits of their sales representatives.’
      • ‘Take Five eMobile is our new solution allowing sales representatives to enter orders and find up-to-the-minute customer information while on the road.’
      • ‘He had invited me along to hear a motivational speech that he would deliver later in the day to sales representatives of Reynolds and Reynolds Co., a maker of auto-industry software.’
      • ‘You and your sales representatives must be passionate about a piece of consignment sculpture, or the incentive to promote it will lag behind the other pieces you've poured money into.’
      • ‘Nokia sales representatives don't talk about their products being the fastest or the lightest on the market, but they do talk about the great technology that lets customers communicate.’
      • ‘Learn why a growing number of Canadian employers are introducing employment agreements for their employees-from senior executives to sales representatives.’
      • ‘As a result, there is now a combined sales force of more than 2,000 representatives selling Altace to an expanded market.’
      • ‘When IPA sales representatives first solicited their business, Doug Hassell and Kim Hudlow knew nothing about John Burgess or his company.’
      • ‘Sales representatives were often unethical and willing to tell a client anything to sell a plant.’
      commercial traveller, travelling salesman, salesman, saleswoman, agent, traveller
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    4. 1.4 An employee of a travel company who looks after the needs of its vacationing clients.
      • ‘They'll arrive in Langkawi, where they will be met by a representative from the travel agent and taken by private car to the five star deluxe Tangung Rhu Hotel, on the north of the island.’
      • ‘It's important to remember if you are travelling under a package deal to let your travel representative know as soon as possible about any problems you experience to allow them to try to sort them out.’
      • ‘We expressed an interest in seeing it, and two days later the Tour East representative at the hotel informed us that one plant was in flower (at park grid reference G19).’
      • ‘A travel representative will meet them at the airport, bring them to their guesthouse and run through the route they've chosen for the next 13 days.’
      • ‘During the ski season, the company employs a further 20 part-time representatives in each of its resorts.’
      • ‘This tour can be booked locally with the travel representative.’
      • ‘The tour representative is a mistress of the revels, who incites the children to even greater excesses than they can imagine for themselves, which eventually results in the death of one of them on his 21st birthday.’
  • 2An example of a class or group.

    ‘fossil representatives of lampreys and hagfishes’
    • ‘Agee refuses to cast his sharecroppers as representatives of a class only, insisting instead on the complex interaction between type and particular individual, between commodity and artifact.’
    • ‘The level of dissatisfaction could be seen by the fact that even representatives of the young middle classes were often upset.’
    • ‘The representatives of management and the upper classes are mainly well-loved actors going - brilliantly - through familiar paces.’
    • ‘Moreover, as Kempe travels throughout England and the rest of Europe, she often finds herself confronting less than exemplary representatives of her Lord.’
    example, specimen
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