late 14c., "to bring to mind by description," also "to symbolize, to be the embodiment of;" from O.Fr. representer
(12c.), from L. repræsentare
, from re-
, intensive prefix, + præsentare
"to present," lit. "to place before" (see present
(2)). Legislative sense is attested from 1650s. Representation
"image, likeness" is from c.1425; legislative sense first attested 1769.