[noun kan-di-deyt, -dit; verb kan-di-deyt]


a person who seeks an office, honor, etc.: a candidate for governor.
a person who is selected by others as a contestant for an office, honor, etc.
a person who is deserving of or seems destined for a certain end or fate: Such a reckless spender is a candidate for the poorhouse.
a student studying for a degree: Candidates for the B.A. will have to meet certain minimum requirements.

verb (used without object), can·di·dat·ed, can·di·dat·ing.

to become a candidate for service as a new minister of a church; preach before a congregation that is seeking a new minister.

Origin of candidate

First recorded in 1605–15, candidate is from the Latin word candidātus clothed in white (adj.), candidate for office (noun, in reference to the white togas worn by those seeking office). See candid, -ate1
Related formscan·di·da·cy [kan-di-duh-see] /ˈkæn dɪ də si/; Chiefly British, can·di·da·ture [kan-di-duh-cher] /ˈkæn dɪ də tʃər/, can·di·date·ship, nounpre·can·di·da·cy, nounpre·can·di·da·ture, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for candidate

Contemporary Examples of candidate

Historical Examples of candidate

  • I've given them to understand that I'll be a candidate if they'll have me.


    William J. Locke

  • It's denied, you know, that he intends to come forward as a candidate in Morbihan.

  • You know that I'm a candidate for the hanging committee this year.'

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • I just hint at my bein' a candidate and folks say, 'Yes, indeed.

    Cy Whittaker's Place

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • If he did, Nate figgered he was as healthy a candidate for adoption as anybody.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for candidate



a person seeking or nominated for election to a position of authority or honour or selection for a job, promotion, etc
a person taking an examination or test
a person or thing regarded as suitable or likely for a particular fate or positionthis wine is a candidate for his cellar
Derived Formscandidacy (ˈkændɪdəsɪ) or candidature (ˈkændɪdətʃə), noun

Word Origin for candidate

C17: from Latin candidātus clothed in white (because in ancient Rome a candidate wore a white toga), from candidus white
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for candidate

c.1600s, from Latin candidatus "one aspiring to office," originally "white-robed," past participle of candidare "to make white or bright," from candidus (see candid). Office-seekers in ancient Rome wore white togas.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper