can·​di·​date | \ ˈkan-də-ˌdāt How to pronounce candidate (audio) , 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 One of those 200 was controlling the mute button for each candidate. Arkansas Online, "Trump, Biden hold final debate," 23 Oct. 2020 You're also allowed to fill in the straight-ticket option, but vote for a candidate of a different party in a specific race. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan voters: Avoid these 3 mistakes to make sure your ballot counts," 23 Oct. 2020 For an also-ran candidate, Sanders has an outsized role in Democratic politics. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Bernie Sanders falls in line for Biden campaign — for now," 23 Oct. 2020 Democrats see flipping states like Texas and Georgia as key to a possible landslide; Texas hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976, and Georgia since 1992. New York Times, "A Biden Landslide? Some Democrats Can’t Help Whispering," 21 Oct. 2020 The case for a candidate is often made by a wide array of outside amateur and professional creators. Brooke Baitinger,, "Footage of Joe Biden comforting Parkland families circulates on social media," 21 Oct. 2020 Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat statewide since 1994 and hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976. Ryan Teague Beckwith,, "Trump, Biden Are Tied in GOP Stronghold Texas: Campaign Update," 21 Oct. 2020 The first two columns in the chart below show the 18-29 split for the 2018 Democratic and Republican Senate candidate. David Faris, TheWeek, "The clock is ticking on Republicans' Senate advantage," 20 Oct. 2020 However, in most states, nothing stops them from breaking that pledge and voting for another candidate. Fortune, "The election night winner could get dumped by faithless electors," 19 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for candidate

Time Traveler

The first known use of candidate was in 1600

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Statistics for candidate

Last Updated

26 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Candidate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for candidate


How to pronounce candidate (audio)

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 How to pronounce candidate (audio) \

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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