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

Booker, like other Democrats in the still-forming primary field, has only begun to build his case as the candidate who can both charge into battle and unify a party desperate to defeat Trump. Elana Schor, The Seattle Times, "Ready to fight: Cory Booker shows his tough side to voters," 20 Feb. 2019 For efficiency’s sake, the military would love empirical tests that can help focus on only the most promising candidates. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Is Changing How Special Ops Fighters Are Trained," 12 Feb. 2019 Citing multiple sources familiar with Apple’s plans, Bloomberg suggests that Intel is the most likely candidate to provide the 5G modem, as has previously been reported. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Don’t expect a 5G iPhone before 2020," 3 Dec. 2018 Design by Morgan McMullen The 2020 election season has already kicked off with a handful of presidential candidates announcing their plans to run, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "2020 Election Voter Registration Deadlines: A State-by-State Guide," 12 Feb. 2019 The staffing firm recommends companies narrow hiring criteria to the most crucial attributes, staying in touch with candidates with updates, and improve coordination of the interview process to trim time. Ezequiel Minaya, WSJ, "Tight Labor Market Calls For Speedier Hiring Process," 8 Feb. 2019 One of the two candidates to replace the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter has started ground tests. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Potential Blackhawk Replacement Starts Ground Tests," 2 Feb. 2019 Pete appeared as himself on the Weekend Update segment of the show to poke fun at some of the candidates running in the midterm elections. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "‘The View’ Co-Hosts Meghan McCain and Joy Behar Agree on One Thing About Pete Davidson’s 'SNL' Joke," 6 Nov. 2018 However, neither Brian Kemp—who is also running as a Republican candidate for governor—nor anyone from his office has provided any evidence that there was indeed a cyberattack. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "With no evidence, Georgia’s top voting official accuses Dems of “cyberattack”," 5 Nov. 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

11 Mar 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 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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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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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