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 The district’s employee vaccine mandate remains in place. Howard Blumestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2022 The actor was fired from his role as Jason Morgan on General Hospital in November 2021 after failing to comply with the production's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Linda Marx,, 9 May 2022 There is no vaccine mandate for workers outside of Zone A. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 6 May 2022 Youngkin campaigned hard against mask mandates in schools and issued an executive order on his first day in office rescinding a vaccine mandate imposed on state workers by his Democratic predecessor, Ralph Northam. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 Candidates seeking to represent Mira Mesa and University City on the San Diego City Council clashed this week over street racing, leadership styles, a vaccine mandate for city workers and several other issues. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 May 2022 The change comes after many Broadway theater owners elected to drop the vaccine mandate for audience members starting May 1. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 May 2022 The thousands of deaths, along with a vaccine mandate that bars unvaccinated people from restaurants and supermarkets, helped drive up the vaccination rate in Hong Kong in recent weeks. Natasha Khan, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 Californians statewide have anticipated that their kids ultimately would face a COVID vaccine mandate at school, but the path to do it has been rockier than expected. Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Apr. 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

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mandate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 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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