One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A person who or thing which stands in the place of another; specifically †(a) a sign, a symbol (obsolete); (b) = "representative".
2A person who depicts, portrays, or presents something; (in early use) specifically †an actor (obsolete).
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Henoch Clapham (fl. 1585–1614), writer on theology and preacher. From post-classical Latin repraesentator representative (early 3rd cent. in Tertullian) from classical Latin repraesentāt-, past participial stem of repraesentāre + -or. Compare French représentateur.
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