de·​late | \ di-ˈlāt How to pronounce delate (audio) , dē- \
delated; delating

Definition of delate

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Other Words from delate

delation \ di-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce delate (audio) , dē-​ \ noun
delator \ di-​ˈlā-​tər How to pronounce delate (audio) , dē-​ \ noun

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To "delate" someone is to "hand down" that person to a court of law. In Latin, "delatus" is the unlikely-looking past participle of deferre, meaning "to bring down, report, or accuse," which in turn comes from ferre, meaning "to carry." Not surprisingly, our word defer, meaning "to yield to the opinion or wishes of another," can also be traced back to "deferre." At one time, in fact, "defer" and "delate" had parallel meanings (both could mean "to carry down or away" or "to offer for acceptance"), but those senses are now obsolete. Today, you are most likely to encounter "delate" or its relatives "delation" and "delator" in the context of medieval tribunals, although the words can also relate to modern ecclesiastical tribunals.

First Known Use of delate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for delate

Latin delatus (past participle of deferre to bring down, report, accuse), from de- + latus, past participle of ferre to bear — more at tolerate

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The first known use of delate was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Delate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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