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What's meaning of the 'Rep.'?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Representative, in the U.S. political sense: that is, someone elected to the House of Representatives. Specifically, this guy. Not this more famous guy:

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Edit: As Justin points out in comments, that’s what Rep. means in this particular example, but in other contexts it can mean many other things too.

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Note for non-English speakers: this is the meaning of "Rep." as used in the OP's example. "Rep" can mean other things in different contexts, for example, as shorthand for "reputation". – Justin Morgan Feb 11 '11 at 1:38
@Justin Morgan: I would say that "non-English speakers" is the wrong group - "non-Americans" would be better. It is a title, like Mr, Dr, Lord, Sir, just one specific to a certain role in American politics. – Orbling Feb 11 '11 at 1:45
Fair enough. But is Representative as an elected official unique to the US? – Justin Morgan Feb 11 '11 at 1:46
@Justing Morgan: For reference, the matching role in UK politics is a Member of Parliament, they are usually styled with the suffix MP, and if they are privy councillors, then the title Rt. Hon. in formal writing. – Orbling Feb 11 '11 at 1:51
@Justin Morgan: many other countries (eg Australia) have elected politicians called ‘representatives’; but I don’t know if there are any others where Rep. gets used as a title like in the US (in Australia, iirc, it isn’t typically used that way). – PLL Feb 11 '11 at 1:59

It should be pointed out that this is actually ambiguous in this case. It could well stand for Representative, as the gentleman in question was in fact a member of the US House of Representatives at the time.

However, it is also a common abbreviation for Republican, which is the political party he is a member of.

I'd guess the poster was aware of this ambiguity, and was fine with it. Space is so limited in a tweet that doing double-duty with a word like this is often considered a good thing.

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I've never seen it used that way and I believe that standard styling would be: Rep. Christopher Lee (R-NY). But I'm not an American so perhaps I haven't seen that alternative meaning. – z7sg Ѫ Oct 7 '11 at 10:36
@z7sgѪ - There's a lot of truth in that. The standard on TV at least is to put an R or D in parenthesis after the person's name, occasionally eloaborated with the district or state they represent. However, on TV most folks are pretending at being non-partisan. Online often the poster's point is to emphasise the party rather than the person (as that is who they really want to damage or build up). – T.E.D. Oct 7 '11 at 13:27

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