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 The measures are a stark departure from the N.F.L.’s approach during the past decade and a half, when teams were pushed to interview minority candidates, under the Rooney Rule, but little more. Ken Belson, New York Times, "N.F.L. Owners Will Review Incentives to Boost Racial Diversity," 15 May 2020 The new guidelines would reward teams that hired a minority coach by improving their third-round draft pick position by six slots, with a 10-spot jump for any team that brought on a minority candidate as general manager, per the report. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "NFL owners to consider proposal incentivizing hires for minority coach, GM candidates, per report," 15 May 2020 More liberal than his Bourbon cousins, Louis-Philippe was a compromise candidate, raised to the throne by business leaders who feared that the revolutionaries would try to institute a republic. Maurice Samuels, Time, "Conspiracy Theories, Class Tension, Political Intrigue: Lessons From France’s Mishandling of a 19th Century Cholera Outbreak," 15 May 2020 This object could shoulder outer solar system sculpting responsibilities with Planet Nine, says co-author Antranik Sefilian, a doctoral candidate at Cambridge University, letting the theoretical size of both structures shrink. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "Planet Nine might not be a planet at all," 14 May 2020 Of the new-player jurors, two thirds (67 percent) voted for the Edge candidate, Chris, while 75 percent of the returning players voted the same way — including three-time players, Joe Anglim and Aubry Bracco. Dalton Ross,, "Survivor favorites preview the Winners at War finale," 12 May 2020 Gregory McKelvey, campaign manager for Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone, said donations were higher in April than in March. oregonlive, "Coronavirus crisis shakes up Oregon campaign season," 11 May 2020 According to Pfizer, the trial includes four vaccine candidates, each representing a different combination of mRNA format and target antigen. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Pfizer begins coronavirus vaccine testing in US; Mich. lab could mass produce it," 5 May 2020 But this would seem to allow Biden to instruct his delegates to support another candidate, and in 11 states there are specific rules for doing so. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "The angst over Joe Biden's assault allegation has an easy resolution," 2 May 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

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Candidate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 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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