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

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 Polyak then will submit his preferred candidate to board members with a packet of information. George Castle,, 17 Nov. 2021 Your job as an interviewer is to determine how badly your candidate wants to succeed in sales. Joe Didonato, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 Voters in New York City's Democratic primary chose Eric Adams, a former police officer, as its Democratic candidate for mayor over the summer. Peter Nickeas And Emma Tucker, CNN, 7 Nov. 2021 At the time, Emergent had already signed a deal with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture their vaccine candidate, according to Robert Kramer, Emergent's chief executive. Arkansas Online, 6 Nov. 2021 President Joe Biden won Virginia by 10 percentage points just a year ago, and if Democrats cannot generate more enthusiasm than their gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe did, they’ll likely be swept out of power in Congress. Nicholas Riccardi, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Nov. 2021 Among challenges for the Democrats -- who've won all statewide races in Virginia dating to 2013 -- is the lack of personal appeal of their candidate: former Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Gary Langer, ABC News, 2 Nov. 2021 On Tuesday afternoon, Mary Walsh and Barbara Essaibi cast their ballots in the mayoral election simultaneously after being escorted to the polls by their candidate, Annissa Essaibi George., 2 Nov. 2021 The Biden administration hasn’t named a nominee since July when its first candidate withdrew. Time, 31 Oct. 2021

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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Time Traveler for candidate

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The first known use of candidate was in 1600

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Last Updated

20 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Candidate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on candidate

Nglish: Translation of candidate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of candidate for Arabic Speakers


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