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 obvious candidate is Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a former finance minister and deputy prime minister of Singapore, who also chairs its monetary authority. The Economist, "The choice of the IMF’s next boss could be a coronation," 11 July 2019 The candidates will have 60 seconds to respond to directquestions and 30 seconds for rebuttals. Renae Reints, Fortune, "What to Expect From the Second Democratic Debate," 11 July 2019 There’s an unrelenting anxiety that minority candidates have to be perfect. Greg Moore, azcentral, "Why is only one woman leading an NBA Summer League coaching staff?," 11 July 2019 In night two of the Democratic debate, candidates bore down into issues, and each other. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Penalizing candidates who interrupt, and other changes coming to the Democratic debates," 10 July 2019 Federal candidates have until July 15 to report their campaign fund-raising for the second quarter. Aidan Ryan,, "Liss-Riordan loans campaign $1 million for Markey challenge," 10 July 2019 The sole Republican candidate is Will County Board Minority Leader Mike Fricilone, 64, of Homer Glen. Lisa Donovan,, "The Spin: Gov. Pritzker won’t be taking a dip in Humboldt Park lagoon; ‘not a big fan of alligators’," 9 July 2019 The process for trial candidates can be lengthy, spanning seven phases: Women are screened twice for their medical history. Scottie Andrew And Saeed Ahmed, CNN, "A woman delivered the first baby in the US born from the transplanted uterus of a dead donor," 9 July 2019 The most likely candidate to succeed her as Tory leader and, by extension, Prime Minister, is the reckless former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, whose relationship with the truth is somewhat similar to the President’s. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "Trump Isn’t the Only One Who Should Be Embarrassed by the U.K. Ambassador’s Cables," 9 July 2019

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

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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