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[ad-min-uh-ster] /ædˈmɪn ə stər/
verb (used with object)
to manage (affairs, a government, etc.); have executive charge of:
to administer the law.
to bring into use or operation:
to administer justice; to administer last rites.
to make application of; give:
to administer medicine.
to supervise the formal taking of (an oath or the like).
Law. to manage or dispose of, as a decedent's estate by an executor or administrator or a trust estate by a trustee.
verb (used without object)
to contribute assistance; bring aid or supplies (usually followed by to):
to administer to the poor.
to perform the duties of an administrator:
She administers quite effectively.
Origin of administer
1325-75; < Latin administrāre to assist, carry out, manage the affairs of (see ad-, minister); replacing Middle English amynistre (with a-5) < Middle French aministrer
Related forms
[ad-min-uh-struh nt] /ædˈmɪn ə strənt/ (Show IPA),
nonadministrant, adjective
self-administered, adjective
self-administering, adjective
unadministered, adjective
well-administered, adjective
1. conduct, control, execute; direct, superintend, supervise, oversee. See rule. 2. distribute, supply, furnish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for administer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "And qualified to administer an oath and take your deposition," said the minister.

    Hidden Hand Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth
  • They administer stinging rebukes that leave the adversary writhing.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • He was called upon, not merely to administer the government, but to decide in the face of terrible odds, the fate of the Republic.

  • “What we want is to administer a tonic to the Conference in Milan,” he said airily.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • All the remedies which the best medical advice could administer proved unavailing.

    Louis Philippe John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott
British Dictionary definitions for administer


verb (mainly transitive)
(also intransitive) to direct or control (the affairs of a business, government, etc)
to put into execution; dispense: administer justice
when intr, foll by to. to give or apply (medicine, assistance, etc) as a remedy or relief
to apply formally; perform: to administer extreme unction
to supervise or impose the taking of (an oath, etc)
to manage or distribute (an estate, property, etc)
Word Origin
C14: amynistre, via Old French from Latin administrare, from ad- to + ministrāre to minister
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
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Word Origin and History for administer

late 14c., administren, aministren "to manage as a steward," from Old French amenistrer "help, aid, be of service to" (12c., Modern French administrer, the -d- restored 16c.), and directly from Latin administrare "manage, control, guide, superintend; rule direct," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + ministrare "serve" (see minister (v.)). Used of medicine, etc., "to give," from 1540s. Related: Administered; administering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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