can·di·date | \ˈkan-də-ˌdāt, ˈka-nə-, -dət\

Definition of candidate 

1a : one that aspires to or is nominated or qualified for an office, membership, or award a candidate for governor a candidate for "Manager of the Year" the best candidate for the job

b : one likely or suited to undergo or be chosen for something specified a candidate for surgery

2 : a student in the process of meeting final requirements for a degree a PhD candidate

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Roman Fashion Is Responsible for Candidate

When a person running for public office in ancient Rome greeted voters in the Forum, the center of judicial and public business, he wore a toga that had been whitened with chalk. As a result, the Latin word for someone seeking office came to be "candidatus," meaning literally "clothed in white." "Candidatus," in turn, comes from the adjective candidus, meaning "white." "Candidatus" was adopted into English as "candidate" at the beginning of the 17th century.

Examples of candidate in a Sentence

Candidates can apply in person or send a resume. a Ph.D. candidate in linguistics The program has several doctoral candidates.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Andrew Yang: Talk and Q&A with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, presented by San Francisco Global Shapers., "Bay Area political events: Resistance training, lawmakers meet with public," 13 July 2018 Culberson, who was outraised by Fletcher and other Democratic primary candidates earlier in the race, had yet to release his fundraising numbers Friday for the second quarter of 2018, which ended June 30. Kevin Diaz, Houston Chronicle, "Lizzie Fletcher hits $1 million in race to unseat Houston GOP incumbent John Culberson," 6 July 2018 Its candidate, Muharrem İnce, who ended up with 30.7% of the vote compared to Mr. Erdoğan’s 52.6%, had promised to bring back a system of checks and balances over presidential power.... Monitor Editors, The Christian Science Monitor, "Troubled by the US Supreme Court’s upholding of Trump’s travel ban, Erdoğan’s reelection tilts toward authoritarianism, Why a stable Turkey is important, Ukraine has come a long way since Russia’s invasion, ‘Standard of living’ or ‘standard of life’?," 14 July 2018 And in February, Kelli Ward, a far-right candidate for the Republican Senate nomination in Arizona, touted a positive editorial from the Arizona Monitor — which later proved to be an anonymous blog. Lev Facher, STAT, "Read the fine print: N.J. senator sets up phony health news website to attack challenger Bob Hugin," 13 July 2018 The move caps off a search that lasted over half a year as Marvel met with over 70 or 75 directors in order to find its ideal candidate. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Black Widow' Movie Finds Director in Cate Shortland (Exclusive)," 12 July 2018 O'Rourke's numbers have been robust enough to count him among the the top fundraisers in the country this cycle among candidates for the Senate, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. Patrick Svitek, star-telegram, "Beto O’Rourke raises $10.4 million in second quarter in race against Ted Cruz," 11 July 2018 Meanwhile Trump is planning to announce his candidate to replace Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy via a prime time TV special tonight. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Today’s daily deal: Groupon wants to sell itself," 9 July 2018 Pakistan’s parliamentary form of government means that people vote for their local candidate, not directly for the national leader. Saeed Shah, WSJ, "Pakistan Vote to Turn on Pivotal Province," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'candidate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of candidate

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for candidate

Latin candidatus, from candidatus clothed in white, from candidus white; from the white toga worn by candidates for office in ancient Rome

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Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for candidate

The first known use of candidate was in 1600

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More Definitions for candidate



English Language Learners Definition of candidate

: a person who is trying to be elected

: a person who is being considered for a job, position, award, etc.

: a person who meets all the requirements for something


can·di·date | \ˈkan-də-ˌdāt \

Kids Definition of candidate

1 : a person who is trying to be elected a presidential candidate

2 : a person who is being considered for a position or honor a job candidate

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Comments on candidate

What made you want to look up candidate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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