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[leg-it] /ˈlɛg ɪt/
an ecclesiastic delegated by the pope as his representative.
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.
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 forms
legateship, noun
underlegate, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for legate
Historical Examples
  • The pope or his legate, however, took no steps to remove abuses or otherwise reform the Scandinavian churches.

  • "You are insubordinate," said the legate, of a sudden very cold.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • On this the Bishop, instead of going to Lige, went with the legate to Tongres.

    Belgium George W. T. (George William Thomson) Omond
  • Yet she could sit there, laughing and feasting and trulling it lightly with the legate!

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • Finally, Renard still thought the legate had better remain abroad.

    The Reign of Mary Tudor W. Llewelyn Williams.
  • This evidence they accounted well-confirmed by the legate's flight.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • Then the archbishop brought the business before the legate, and got him easily persuaded to give his consent.

    Heimskringla Snorri Sturlason
  • They might be expected in ten days or a fortnight, and could follow the legate to England.

    The Reign of Mary Tudor W. Llewelyn Williams.
  • At the same time, this impatient prince sent message after message to accelerate the legate's rate of travelling.

  • The legate dwelt in some detail on the misfortunes of the preceding years.

    The Reign of Mary Tudor W. Llewelyn Williams.
British Dictionary definitions for legate


a messenger, envoy, or delegate
(RC Church) an emissary to a foreign state representing the Pope
Derived Forms
legateship, noun
legatine (ˈlɛɡəˌtaɪn) adjective
Word Origin
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
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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
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