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Representamen, from Repraesentamen

This page contributed by Ben Udell

Quote from the Century Dictionary via the CD Online Project, also via Internet Archive from the 1889–1891 first edition of CD, in CD Volume 5, CD Part 17 Q–Ring (1890), CD page 5088, and identically via Google Books from the last full printing, the 1914 printing of the 1911 edition, CD Volume 4, CD page 5088:

representamen (rep˝rẹ̄-zen-tā´men), n. [< NL. *repræsentamen, < L. repræsentare, represent: see represent.]   In metaph., representation; an object serving to represent something to the mind.   Sir W. Hamilton.

"Representamen" is one of the words of which Peirce had charge in the Century Dictionary (see list of "R" words at P⁠E⁠P-UQÀM).

The Century Dictionary puts the asterisk of conjecture before the New Latin form repraesentamen. I Googled up a number of occurrences of the word in actual (not merely glossary) New Latin use, in singular and plural and in most noun cases (nominative, genitive, etc. and, since then, in all the cases).

I added a set of quotations with Google Books links in a footnote (once there, scroll toward bottom and click on 'quotations') in the Wiktionary entry for "representamen" in order to establish its actual use in New Latin, but eventually the material was moved, in somewhat truncated form, to the Wiktionary entry for "repraesentamen". Back on the Wiktionary "representamen" page, one would need to happen to click on "repraesentamen" under "Etymology" in order to have a chance of encountering the quotations. So I'm putting all of that and other material from the old page (and correcting & adding things) here where one does not need to bounce between pages or click on a tiny word in order to view the quotations. (Wiktionary Creative Commons license.)


From New Latin repraesentamen, -aminis,[1] from Latin repraesentare, "to bring back", "to display", "to represent", "to pay immediately", "to perform immediately".


The primary stress falls on the "a".

Singular "representamen" rhymes with "laymen" and "stamen".

Plural "representamina" rhymes with "stamina".

The pronunciations of "representamen" and "representamina" follow the pattern of their etymological parallels "stamen", "stamina", "foramen", "foramina".


representamen (plural representamina or representamens)

  1. A representation, a thing serving to represent something (as to an interpreting mind). It is a representation in the sense of something which represents, as opposed to its operation or relation of representing, and also as opposed to a process or activity of representing, which produces it. (The produced representamen can itself seem or be a process or activity, for example a song or a theatrical performance, or a rock's tumbling in an informative way, or a logical argument). Compare sign.
    • circa 1897: Charles Sanders Peirce, Collected Papers, volume 2, paragraph 228:
      A sign, or representamen, is something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity.



[1] The Century Dictionary puts the asterisk of conjecture before the New Latin form repraesentamen, but the word occurs:

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Page lasted edited September 19, 2014, created July 16, 2014, by B.U. — B.U.

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