man·​date | \ ˈman-ˌdāt How to pronounce mandate (audio) \

Definition of mandate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an authoritative command especially : a formal order from a superior court or official to an inferior one
2 : an authorization to act given to a representative accepted the mandate of the people
3a : an order or commission granted by the League of Nations to a member nation for the establishment of a responsible government over a former German colony or other conquered territory
b : a mandated territory


man·​date | \ ˈman-ˌdāt How to pronounce mandate (audio) \
mandated; mandating

Definition of mandate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to administer or assign (something, such as a territory) under a mandate
2 : to officially require (something) : make (something) mandatory : order a law mandating recycling also : to direct or require (someone) to do something a commission mandated to investigate corruption

When should you use mandate?

A mandate from a leader is a command you can't refuse. But that kind of personal command is rarely the meaning of mandate today; much more common are connected with institutions. Thus, the Clean Air Act was a mandate from Congress to clean up air pollution—and since mandate is also a verb, we could say instead that the Clear Air Act mandated new restrictions on air pollution. Elections are often interpreted as mandates from the public for certain kinds of action. But since a politician is not just a symbol of certain policies but also an individual who might happen to have an awfully nice smile, it can be risky to interpret most elections as mandating anything at all.

Examples of mandate in a Sentence

Noun Sports fans have considerable forbearance. Year after year they endure escalating ticket prices, the abomination known as seat licensing and the implied mandate that taxpayers should foot the bill for the new stadium or arena that will absolutely revive downtown. — Jack McCallum, Sports Illustrated, 30 July 2007 All provisions requiring congressional approval, such as FDA regulation, were dropped, as were mandates for stronger package warnings, tighter enforcement on sales to youth, stronger public smoking bans, and … provisions to reduce youth smoking. — Allan M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century, 2007 Not the least of the Governors' problems are the new mandates being put on them by Washington—by a President who was once one of their own. — Karen Tumulty, Time, 19 May 2003 Royal mandates must be obeyed. They carried out the governor's mandate to build more roads. He won the election so convincingly that he believed he had been given a mandate for change. Verb The carbon prices on the European exchanges are higher precisely because the allowances for carbon emissions are mandated by government. — Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006 But the FDA did nothing. Later, it protested that it doesn't have the authority to mandate additional studies once a drug is marketed, but that is sophistry. The FDA has the authority to pull drugs off the market … — Marcia Angell, New York Review of Books, 8 June 2006 For a few tantalizing weeks this spring, the manufacturers of gun safety locks seemed to have hit the jackpot: the gun-control bill passed by the Senate in the wake of the Littleton shootings mandated that all new handguns be equipped with safety locks. — Calvin Trillin, Time, 5 July 1999 The law mandates that every car have seat belts. He won the election so convincingly that he believed the people had mandated him to carry out his policies. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her Republican opponents criticized Ms. Ivey for extending a mask mandate in early 2021 and for suggesting that unvaccinated people deserved blame for the prolonged pandemic. New York Times, 24 May 2022 Public officials and businesses appear reluctant to return to a mandate and individuals are taking a wide-ranging approach, with some continuing to mask in some settings while others have little appetite for it. Madeline Buckley, Chicago Tribune, 24 May 2022 Prince George’s County is the only school district — and one of the few big districts in the country — that still has a mask mandate. Nicole Asbury, Washington Post, 22 May 2022 The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system has enacted a mask mandate. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, 21 May 2022 Having the ability to stay competitive in the face of the global supply chain turmoil has become a mandate for any business. Tim Beyer, Forbes, 19 May 2022 On Monday, New York City health officials recommended that residents wear masks indoors, but held off on imposing a mask mandate. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 19 May 2022 According to insiders, the leadership of Warner Bros. Discovery, the new company combining Discovery and Warner Bros. and now being led by CEO David Zaslav, is imposing a mandate that DC movies should now be made with a theatrical-first goal. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 May 2022 However, ongoing concerns about the pandemic continue to impact the NBA playoffs for a third consecutive year, with the Heat returning to a mask mandate for all media at Wednesday’s interview session. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 18 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As more companies mandate a return to the office, workers must readjust to pre-pandemic rituals like long commutes, juggling child care and physically interacting with colleagues. Anne D'innocenzio, Chicago Tribune, 9 May 2022 As more companies mandate a return to the office, workers must readjust to pre-pandemic rituals like long commutes, juggling child care and physically interacting with colleagues. Anne D'innocenzio, Hartford Courant, 8 May 2022 What will happen in Q2 when more companies mandate a return to the office? Ken Sterling, Forbes, 3 May 2022 No provision of the ETS requires that employers mandate that their employees be vaccinated. Dan Eaton, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Apr. 2022 As companies mandate people back to the office, workers across the nation are finding the switch to be messy, inconvenient and in some cases even pointless. Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2022 As of this month, no Connecticut town or city requires masks in public, indoor places, and few still mandate them in schools. Alex Putterman,, 17 Mar. 2022 While the company promoted the vaccine, the company did not mandate it for their 2,300 employees, 1,800 of whom are in Indiana, Nord said. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, 4 Mar. 2022 In July 2021, the unions and studios agreed to allow producers to mandate vaccines for Zone A, which consists of the cast and crew that are in close contact with them. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mandate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of mandate


1501, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1919, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mandate

Noun and Verb

Middle French & Latin; Middle French mandat, from Latin mandatum, from neuter of mandatus, past participle of mandare to entrust, enjoin, probably irregular from manus hand + -dere to put — more at manual, do

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Time Traveler for mandate

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The first known use of mandate was in 1501

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Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mandate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for mandate


man·​date | \ ˈman-ˌdāt How to pronounce mandate (audio) \

Kids Definition of mandate

1 : an order from a higher court to a lower court
2 : a command or instruction from an authority
3 : the instruction given by voters to their elected representatives


man·​date | \ ˈman-ˌdāt How to pronounce mandate (audio) \

Legal Definition of mandate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a formal communication from a reviewing court notifying the court below of its judgment and directing the lower court to act accordingly
b : mandamus
2 in the civil law of Louisiana : an act by which a person gives another person the power to transact for him or her one or several affairs
3a : an authoritative command : a clear authorization or direction the mandate of the full faith and credit clauseNational Law Journal
b : the authorization to act given by a constituency to its elected representative


transitive verb
mandated; mandating

Legal Definition of mandate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make mandatory or required the Pennsylvania Constitution mandates a criminal defendant's right to confrontationNational Law Journal

History and Etymology for mandate


Latin mandatum, from neuter of mandatus, past participle of mandare to entrust, enjoin, probably irregularly from manus hand + -dere to put

More from Merriam-Webster on mandate

Nglish: Translation of mandate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mandate for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about mandate


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