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

Following the departure of Rafa Benitez, the Magpies drew up a longlist of candidates to potentially assume the managerial role., "Newcastle Had 'Reasonably Advanced' Talks With Mikel Arteta About Manager's Post Before Bruce Hiring," 6 Sep. 2019 For the first time, the poll asked voters about the large field of Democratic candidates running to take on Trump. Scott Bauer, Twin Cities, "Trump’s approval rating remains below 50% in Wisconsin," 5 Sep. 2019 Historically in Colorado, that sort of candidate hasn’t necessarily done very well. Justin Wingerter, The Denver Post, "The Democratic race to be the anti-Hickenlooper within Colorado’s race for Senate," 5 Sep. 2019 All 10 of the candidates participating in the CNN forums have proposed plans starting at $1 trillion for investment and research to wean the U.S. economy off oil, gas and coal. Anchorage Daily News, "2020 Democratic candidates turn focus to climate change," 4 Sep. 2019 The marathon of candidates who’ve spoken so far have mostly laid out similar plans to invest in green energy and reduce emissions. Casey Tolan, The Mercury News, "Kamala Harris lays out $10 trillion plan to fight climate change, says she’d ban plastic straws," 4 Sep. 2019 Half of the Democratic 2020 candidates set to participate in a two-day climate change forum hosted by Georgetown University have failed to qualify for the third round of Democratic debates. Renae Reints, Fortune, "MSNBC Climate Change Forum Will Give Voice to Democrats Denied the Debate Stage and One Republican," 2 Sep. 2019 The Democratic party made headlinesThursday when the lineup of candidates taking part in the third debate on Sept. 12 in Houston was announced. Editors, USA TODAY, "Hurricane Dorian, US Open, Labor Day gas prices: 5 things to know Friday," 30 Aug. 2019 Unlike the first two debates, qualifiers for this round precluded a swath of the candidates from participating. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "These Ten Candidates Are Taking The Stage At The Next HBCU-Held Democratic Debate," 30 Aug. 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

9 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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