represent

Use the word represent when something stands in for something else — whether it's your congressman representing your interests in Washington or the thimble that represents you as it makes its way around the Monopoly board.

We live in a democracy in which we elect a few people to represent the wishes and desires of the rest of us. Their job is literally to "re-present" the voters' demands in Congress. That's why we call them our "representatives." In the world of art, however, to represent something can mean to express its essence by means of something different. For example a ball of string can represent, or symbolize, a cat.

Definitions of represent
  1. verb
    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
    “I represent the silent majority”
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    type of:
    serve
    do duty or hold offices; serve in a specific function
  2. verb
    be the defense counsel for someone in a trial
    “Ms. Smith will represent the defendant”
    synonyms: defend
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    Antonyms:
    prosecute
    bring a criminal action against (in a trial)
  3. verb
    take the place of or be parallel or equivalent to
    synonyms: correspond, stand for
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    type of:
    be, equal
    be identical or equivalent to
  4. verb
    form or compose
    “This sum represents my entire income for a year”
    synonyms: be, comprise, constitute, make up
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    types:
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    make
    constitute the essence of
    compose
    form the substance of
    constitute, form, make
    to compose or represent:"This wall forms the background of the stage setting"
    range, straddle
    range or extend over; occupy a certain area
    fall into, fall under
    be included in or classified as
    pose, present
    introduce
    supplement
    serve as a supplement to
    chelate
    form a chelate, in chemistry
    spread-eagle
    stretch over
    add
    constitute an addition
  5. verb
    express indirectly by an image, form, or model; be a symbol
    synonyms: stand for, symbolise, symbolize, typify
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    types:
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    be, embody, personify
    represent, as of a character on stage
    epitomise, epitomize, typify
    embody the essential characteristics of or be a typical example of
    body, personify
    invest with or as with a body; give body to
    exemplify
    be characteristic of
    type of:
    intend, mean
    mean or intend to express or convey
  6. verb
    be characteristic of
    synonyms: exemplify
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    type of:
    be, embody, personify
    represent, as of a character on stage
  7. verb
    be representative or typical for
    “This period is represented by Beethoven”
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    types:
    instantiate
    represent by an instance
    speak for
    be a spokesperson for
    type of:
    be
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  8. verb
    serve as a means of expressing something
    “The flower represents a young girl”
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    types:
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    belie, misrepresent
    represent falsely
    dramatise, dramatize
    represent something in a dramatic manner
    portray
    portray in words
    embody
    represent or express something abstract in tangible form
    sentimentalise, sentimentalize
    look at with sentimentality or turn into an object of sentiment
    distort, falsify, garble, warp
    make false by mutilation or addition; as of a message or story
    affect, dissemble, feign, pretend, sham
    make believe with the intent to deceive
    overdramatise, overdramatize
    present in an overly dramatic manner
    type of:
    express, give tongue to, utter, verbalise, verbalize
    articulate; either verbally or with a cry, shout, or noise
  9. verb
    create an image or likeness of
    “The painter represented his wife as a young girl”
    synonyms: interpret
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    types:
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    carnalise, carnalize, sensualise, sensualize
    represent materialistically, as in a painting or a sculpture
    silhouette
    represent by a silhouette
    animalise, animalize
    represent in the form of an animal
    profile
    represent in profile, by drawing or painting
    paint
    make a painting of
    capture
    succeed in representing or expressing something intangible
    depict, picture, render, show
    show in, or as in, a picture
    conventionalize, stylise, stylize
    represent according to a conventional style
    map
    make a map of; show or establish the features of details of
    depict, limn, portray
    make a portrait of
    portray, present
    represent abstractly, for example in a painting, drawing, or sculpture
    draw
    represent by making a drawing of, as with a pencil, chalk, etc. on a surface
    mock up, model
    construct a model of
    chart, graph
    represent by means of a graph
    chart
    make a chart of
    plat, plot
    make a plat of
    repaint
    paint again
    recapture
    take up anew
    illustrate
    depict with an illustration
    map
    depict as if on a map
    pencil
    write, draw, or trace with a pencil
    commend
    present as worthy of regard, kindness, or confidence
    delineate, limn, outline
    trace the shape of
    rule
    mark or draw with a ruler
    chalk
    write, draw, or trace with chalk
    project
    draw a projection of
    crayon
    write, draw, or trace with a crayon
    check, checker, chequer
    mark into squares or draw squares on; draw crossed lines on
    charcoal
    draw, trace, or represent with charcoal
    doodle
    make a doodle; draw aimlessly
    diagram, plot
    make a schematic or technical drawing of that shows interactions among variables or how something is constructed
    cartoon
    draw cartoons of
    fill in, shade
    represent the effect of shade or shadow on
    chalk out, sketch
    make a sketch of
    type of:
    re-create
    create anew
  10. verb
    play a role or part
    synonyms: act, play
    act, act as, play
    pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind
    act, play, playact, roleplay
    perform on a stage or theater
    play
    pretend to be somebody in the framework of a game or playful activity
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    make, make believe, pretend
    represent fictitiously, as in a play, or pretend to be or act like
    support
    play a subordinate role to (another performer)
    act out, enact, reenact
    act out; represent or perform as if in a play
    act out
    represent an incident, state, or emotion by action, especially on stage
    impersonate, portray
    assume or act the character of
    parody
    make a spoof of or make fun of
    emote
    give expression or emotion to, in a stage or movie role
    go through the motions
    pretend to do something by acting as if one was really doing it
    type of:
    re-create
    create anew
  11. verb
    perform (a play), especially on a stage
    synonyms: present, stage
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    types:
    localise, localize, place, set
    locate
    type of:
    re-create
    create anew
  12. verb
    describe or present, usually with respect to a particular quality
    “He represented this book as an example of the Russian 19th century novel”
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    types:
    symbolise, symbolize
    represent or identify by using a symbol; use symbols
    actualise, actualize
    represent or describe realistically
    type of:
    depict, describe, draw
    give a description of
  13. verb
    bring forward and present to the mind
    “We cannot represent this knowledge to our formal reason”
    synonyms: lay out, present
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    argue, reason
    present reasons and arguments
    argue, indicate
    give evidence of
    spin
    twist and turn so as to give an intended interpretation
    re-argue
    argue again
    expostulate
    reason with (somebody) for the purpose of dissuasion
    defend, fend for, support
    argue or speak in defense of
    sugarcoat
    cause to appear more pleasant or appealing
    type of:
    say, state, tell
    express in words
  14. verb
    point out or draw attention to in protest or remonstrance
    “our parents represented to us the need for more caution”
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    type of:
    point out, remonstrate
    present and urge reasons in opposition
  15. verb
    to establish a mapping (of mathematical elements or sets)
    synonyms: map
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    type of:
    commute, permute, transpose
    change the order or arrangement of
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