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

Several prospective Democratic presidential candidates are making their own political calculations about the 2020 contest based in part on what Messrs. Biden and Sanders decide about the race. Ken Thomas, WSJ, "Democrat Beto O’Rourke Plans Solo Road Trip to Meet Voters Outside Texas," 7 Jan. 2019 For these reasons, anti-capitalists (like former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders) tend to find themselves on the left side of the political spectrum. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "What is Capitalism?," 7 Jan. 2019 By the end, 40 members of Congress — including several notable senators like Booker, Sanders, and Jeff Merkley, each a potential 2020 presidential candidate — signed on to support the committee. David Roberts, Vox, "The Green New Deal, explained," 21 Dec. 2018 Former senator Elizabeth Dole founded Hidden Heroes in 2011, shortly after her husband, former senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole, spent eleven months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center near Washington, D.C. Lydia Woolever, Popular Mechanics, "How Families Are Taking Care of Wounded Veterans," 28 Nov. 2018 In March, the former 2016 presidential candidate removed anti-discrimination language from HUD’s mission statement. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "HUD won one court battle, lost another under Ben Carson in 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 Smartphones and small portable speakers are the ones explicitly mentioned in the announcement, but tablets and potentially laptops will also be good candidates to benefit. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Dirac Bass will trick you into perceiving deeper bass from your phone’s speakers," 18 Dec. 2018 This is perhaps the most famous episode of Pee Wee ever, and rightly so: Pee Wee is a perfect fictional candidate to have his own Christmas special, exuding kindness, inclusion, and positivity. Liz Arcury, Marie Claire, "The 8 Best Celebrity Holiday Specials Ever," 29 Nov. 2018 Hof, who turned 72 on Sunday, was the Republican candidate this year in a heavily GOP state legislative district. Fox News, "Dennis Hof, Nevada brothel owner, dead at 72," 16 Oct. 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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Statistics for candidate

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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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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