[noun del-i-git, -geyt; verb del-i-geyt]


a person designated to act for or represent another or others; deputy; representative, as in a political convention.
(formerly) the representative of a Territory in the U.S. House of Representatives.
a member of the lower house of the state legislature of Maryland, Virginia, or West Virginia.

verb (used with object), del·e·gat·ed, del·e·gat·ing.

to send or appoint (a person) as deputy or representative.
to commit (powers, functions, etc.) to another as agent or deputy.

Origin of delegate

1350–1400; Middle English (noun) < Medieval Latin dēlēgātus, noun use of Latin: past participle of dēlēgāre to assign, equivalent to dē- de- + lēgātus deputed; see legate
Related formsdel·e·ga·tee [del-i-guh-tee] /ˌdɛl ɪ gəˈti/, noundel·e·ga·tor [del-i-gey-ter] /ˈdɛl ɪˌgeɪ tər/, nounnon·del·e·gate, nounpre·del·e·gate, noun, verb, pre·del·e·gat·ed, pre·del·e·gat··del·e·gate, verb (used with object), re·del·e·gat·ed, re·del·e·gat·ing.sub·del·e·gate, nounsub·del·e·gate, verb (used with object), sub·del·e·gat·ed, sub·del·e·gat·ing.un·del·e·gat·ed, adjective

Synonyms for delegate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for delegate

Contemporary Examples of delegate

Historical Examples of delegate

  • I am the unworthy servant and delegate of him who holds the keys.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • It does not say that a delegate must not be a woman, or must be a man.

    Samantha Among the Brethren, Part 7.

    Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)

  • He was made a delegate of the Red Committee less than a year after his release on licence.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • And he—he had striven to delegate to others the burden he was meant to bear.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • "Allow no one to leave the building," said the delegate to the other policeman.

British Dictionary definitions for delegate


noun (ˈdɛlɪˌɡeɪt, -ɡɪt)

a person chosen or elected to act for or represent another or others, esp at a conference or meeting
US government a representative of a territory in the US House of Representatives

verb (ˈdɛlɪˌɡeɪt)

to give or commit (duties, powers, etc) to another as agent or representative; depute
(tr) to send, authorize, or elect (a person) as agent or representative
(tr) mainly US to assign (a person owing a debt to oneself) to one's creditor in substitution for oneself
Derived Formsdelegable (ˈdɛlɪɡəbəl), adjective

Word Origin for delegate

C14: from Latin dēlēgāre to send on a mission, from lēgāre to send, depute; see legate
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 delegate

late 15c., from Old French delegat or directly from Latin delegatus, past participle of delegare "to send as a representative," from de- "from, away" (see de-) + legare "send with a commission" (see legate).


1520s (early 15c. as a past participle adjective), from delegate (n.). Related: Delegated; delegating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper