c.1500, from L. mandatum "commission, order," noun use of neut. pp. of mandare "to order, commit to one's charge," lit. "to give into one's hand," probably from manus "hand" (see manual) + dare "to give" (see date (1)). Political sense of "approval of policy supposedly conferred by voters to winners of an election" is from 1796. Related: Mandated.
"to delegate authority, permit to act on behalf of a group," 1958, from mandate (n.). Used earlier in the context of the League of Nations, "to authorize a power to control a certain territory for some purpose" (1919).
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.