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

  • adjective Required or commanded by authority; obligatory.
  • adjective Of, having the nature of, or containing a mandate.
  • adjective Holding a League of Nations mandate over a territory.
  • noun A mandatary.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of the nature of a mandate; containing a command or mandate; directory.
  • noun Same as mandatary.

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

  • noun Same as mandatary.
  • adjective Containing a command; preceptive; directory.
  • adjective Obligatory; compulsory; required by authority.
  • adjective (Law) Not optional; not able to be modified or disregarded.

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

  • adjective Obligatory; required or commanded by authority.
  • adjective Of, being or relating to a mandate.
  • noun dated, rare A person, organisation or state who receives a mandate; a mandatary.

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

  • adjective required by rule
  • noun a territory surrendered by Turkey or Germany after World War I and put under the tutelage of some other European power until they are able to stand by themselves
  • noun the recipient of a mandate


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin mandatorius ("of or belonging to a mandator"), from mandator ("one who commands"); see mandate.


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  • That said, what is it going to take to put teeth in the term mandatory evacuation?

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  • But by using the term mandatory, we hope that that puts enough seriousness behind the order for people to leave.

    CNN Transcript Sep 10, 2004 2004

  • For the same reason they put 'mandatory' in quotes: To both differentiate it from an after-school activity, and because they know that "mandatory" is exactly that – "mandatory" with quotes and all.

    Coming Soon to a Theater Near You 2008

  • On the last Tuesday of each month, she and her three horns and five rhythm put on an unstoppable juggernaut of a set at the Iridium, with one hard-hitting swinger after another, pausing only for what she describes as a mandatory "two-ballad minimum."

    Holiday Cheer Will Friedwald 2010

  • They were with a half-dozen friends at the Lehigh Pub in Bethlehem last month, so the establishment tacked what it called a mandatory 18 percent gratuity onto the bill of about $73, according to reports.

    Archive 2009-11-01 Matt Johnston 2009

  • But, another issue out there you may not be aware of is what they call mandatory enrollment.

    CNN Transcript Nov 7, 2009 2009

  • Such voting — let's call it mandatory absentee balloting — takes the voter out of the polling booth and puts him at home or elsewhere, someplace where votes could be sold to the highest bidder.

    Sound Politics: Voting By Mail Is Becoming More Common 2006

  • Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom delayed Light's arraignment briefly to allow time for what he called a mandatory conference.

    The Charleston Gazette - 2009

  • This is the only mention of "mandatory" in conjunction with service, the only other use of the word mandatory is in regard to prohibited qualifying activities (religious ceremonies).

    Alex Jones' Prison 2009

  • This is the only mention of "mandatory" in conjunction with service, the only other use of the word mandatory is in regard to prohibited qualifying activities (religious ceremonies).

    Alex Jones' Prison 2009


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  • Can someone tell me why Stephen Fry stresses mandatory on the second syllable in this video (around 1:28)?

    I'm especially interested in that because some time ago I used to read it (hopefully never aloud) that way for a while before I noticed the mistake.

    August 17, 2009

  • Wow, that pronunciation is really jarring, I've never heard it said like that before. I'm not sure if it is a British thing or a comic thing.

    August 18, 2009

  • I can't play sound clips, but if it's just mænˈdeɪtəri, I would assume that's a common pronunciation, and surely there's nothing strange about it. Myself, I say ˈmændətri with initial stress, which is probably the older pronunciation—mine usually are, when I look them up.

    August 18, 2009

  • Thanks! So it's probably something obscure or new-fangled and British.

    August 18, 2009

  • I don't think it's that common a pronunciation - at least the Fry & Laurie clip is the first time I've encountered it. I suppose it makes sense re: mandate, but I suspect Fry may be speaking in character here, i.e. for comedic effect.

    August 19, 2009

  • I think the boys tend* to do that in their sketches, don't they?

    *using present tense because I refuse to believe Fry & Laurie will ever cease. :)

    August 19, 2009