[ man-deyt ]
See synonyms for: mandatemandatedmandatesmandating on

  1. a command or authorization to act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative: The president had a clear mandate to end the war.

  2. a command from a superior court or official to a lower one: The appellate court resolved the appeal and issued a mandate to the district judge.

  1. an authoritative order or command: a royal mandate.

  2. (in the League of Nations) a commission given to a nation to administer the government and affairs of a former Turkish territory or German colony.

  3. a mandated territory or colony.

  4. Roman Catholic Church. an order issued by the pope, especially one commanding the preferment of a certain person to a benefice.

  5. Roman and Civil Law. a contract by which one engages gratuitously to perform services for another.

  6. (in modern civil law) any contract by which a person undertakes to perform services for another.

  7. Roman Law. an order or decree by the emperor, especially to governors of provinces.

verb (used with object),man·dat·ed, man·dat·ing.
  1. to authorize or decree (a particular action), as by the enactment of law: The state legislature mandated an increase in the minimum wage.

  2. to order or require; make mandatory: to mandate sweeping changes in the election process.

  1. to consign (a territory, colony, etc.) to the charge of a particular nation under a mandate.

Origin of mandate

First recorded in 1540–50; from Latin mandātum, noun use of neuter of mandātus, past participle of mandāre “to commission,” literally, “to give into (someone's) hand”; equivalent to manus manus + -dere “to put” (combining form; see do1).

word story For mandate

English mandate comes from Latin mandātum “an order, instruction, commission, imperial directive, (in law) a consensual contract.”
Mandātum is a neuter noun use of the past participle mandātus, from mandāre “to hand over, deliver, consign, entrust, delegate.” The first element of Latin mandāre is from the noun manus “hand”; the second part looks as if it were from dare “to give,” but in fact -dāre is a derivation of the combining form -dere “to put, place,” from a very widespread Proto-Indo-European root dhē-, dhō- “to place, set, put,” source of the English verb do. Mandāre therefore means “to put in the hands (of).”
Mandātum, via Old and Middle French mandé “washing of poor people’s feet during the Holy Thursday liturgy,” becomes maunde in Middle English and maundy in Modern English. Mandé, maunde, and maundy derive from the Vulgate Latin text of Jesus’ words during the Last Supper (Gospel of St. John, 13:34): Mandātum novum dō vōbis, ut diligātis invicem “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.”

Other words for mandate

Words Nearby mandate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mandate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mandate


noun(ˈmændeɪt, -dɪt)
  1. an official or authoritative instruction or command

  2. politics the support or commission given to a government and its policies or an elected representative and his policies through an electoral victory

  1. Also called: mandated territory (often capital) (formerly) any of the territories under the trusteeship of the League of Nations administered by one of its member states

    • Roman law a contract by which one person commissions another to act for him gratuitously and the other accepts the commission

    • contract law a contract of bailment under which the party entrusted with goods undertakes to perform gratuitously some service in respect of such goods

    • Scots law a contract by which a person is engaged to act in the management of the affairs of another

verb(ˈmændeɪt) (tr)
  1. international law to assign (territory) to a nation under a mandate

  2. to delegate authority to

  1. obsolete to give a command to

Origin of mandate

C16: from Latin mandātum something commanded, from mandāre to command, perhaps from manus hand + dāre to give

Derived forms of mandate

  • mandator, noun

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

Cultural definitions for mandate


A command or an expression of a desire, especially by a group of voters for a political program. Politicians elected in landslide victories often claim that their policies have received a mandate from the voters.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.