from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person who seeks or is nominated for an office, prize, or honor.
  • noun A student who has nearly completed the requirements for a degree.
  • noun One that seems likely to gain a certain position or come to a certain fate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A person who seeks or is put forward by others for an office or honor; one who offers himself or is proposed for office or preferment, by election or appointment: as, a candidate for the office of sheriff, or for a degree.
  • To render qualified as a candidate.
  • To become a candidate; seek or aspire to some office; offer one's self or one's services as a candidate, as a clergyman seeking a parish or a charge; compete with others as a candidate.
  • noun One who seeks or is an aspirant for something other than office or preferment: as, a candidate for literary fame; “a candidate of heaven,”
  • noun A member of the white-robed body-guard of the Roman emperors, established about 237 a. d. by Gordianus the Younger.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who offers himself, or is put forward by others, as a suitable person or an aspirant or contestant for an office, privilege, or honor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A person who is running in an election or who is applying to a position for a job.
  • noun A participant in an examination.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a politician who is running for public office
  • noun someone who is considered for something (for an office or prize or honor etc.)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin candidātus, clothed in white (from the white togas worn by Romans seeking office), candidate, from candidus, white; see candid.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin candidatus ("a person who is standing for public office"), the perfect passive participle of candidare, from candidus ("candid, white"), in reference to Roman candidates wearing bleached white togas as a symbol of purity at a public forum.


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  • See this map for American pronunciation.

    April 11, 2008