See more synonyms for legate on Thesaurus.com
  1. an ecclesiastic delegated by the pope as his representative.
  2. Roman History.
    1. an assistant to a general or to a consul or magistrate, in the government of any army or a province; a commander of a legion.
    2. a provincial governor of senatorial rank appointed by the emperor.
  3. an envoy or emissary.

Origin of legate

1125–75; Middle English legat < Latin lēgātus deputy (noun use of masculine past participle of lēgāre to depute), equivalent to lēgā(re) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsleg·ate·ship, nounun·der·leg·ate, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for legate

Historical Examples of legate

British Dictionary definitions for legate


  1. a messenger, envoy, or delegate
  2. RC Church an emissary to a foreign state representing the Pope
Derived Formslegateship, nounlegatine (ˈlɛɡəˌtaɪn), adjective

Word Origin for legate

Old English, via Old French from Latin lēgātus deputy, from lēgāre to delegate; related to lēx law
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 legate

mid-12c., "authorized representative of the Pope," from Old French legat and directly from Latin legatus "ambassador, envoy," originally "provided with a commission," past participle of legare "send as a deputy, send with a commission, bequeath," from lex (genitive legis) "contract, law" (see legal). General sense of "ambassador, delegate, messenger" is from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper