su·​per·​del·​e·​gate ˈsü-pər-ˌde-li-gət How to pronounce superdelegate (audio)
US politics
: a person who is chosen as a delegate to a political party's presidential nominating convention because of his or her status as a leader or official within the party and who is free to vote for any candidate regardless of the results of the popular vote in primary elections and caucuses preceding the convention
Superdelegates were invented by the Democrats after the 1980 election in the expectation that in any future close nomination race, they would line up behind the establishment candidate and head off the possibility of a ruinous floor fight at the convention.Matt Bai

Examples of superdelegate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Then there was Moses Mercado, the campaign’s field organizer who had come to D.C. in 1993 to work for a Texas congressman and had been a superdelegate for Barack Obama. Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2024 Congressional candidate Heather Mizeur first met rock singer Melissa Etheridge back in 2008, when the singer called Mizeur, a superdelegate at that year’s Democratic National Convention, on behalf of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Jason Fontelieu, Baltimore Sun, 9 Oct. 2022 Biden has already won the backing of 104 superdelegates, and more are lining up behind his candidacy every day. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, 5 Mar. 2020 There are 41 pledged delegates up for grabs in the Democratic race, plus an additional eight unpledged (superdelegates) from Iowa. NBC News, 3 Feb. 2020 That means that there’s a second round of voting with unpledged superdelegates to help determine the nominee. Nicole Goodkind, Fortune, 18 Mar. 2020 The party stripped superdelegates of a significant share off their power, giving them no more influence than others at the party’s nominating convention unless a first-round vote failed to provide a clear answer. NBC News, 1 Feb. 2020 In 2016, Trump also tried to tap into the anger of Sanders' voters who felt the Democratic National Committee and superdelegates rigged the system in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's favor. William Cummings, USA TODAY, 22 Jan. 2020 Remember the secret stash of 50 superdelegates that Barack Obama was supposed to roll out after his March 4 losses to Hillary Clinton in Texas and Ohio? Newsweek, 14 Mar. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'superdelegate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1983, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of superdelegate was in 1983

Dictionary Entries Near superdelegate

Cite this Entry

“Superdelegate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

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