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[man-deyt] /ˈmæn deɪt/
a command or authorization to act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative:
The president had a clear mandate to end the war.
a command from a superior court or official to a lower one:
The appellate court resolved the appeal and issued a mandate to the district judge.
an authoritative order or command:
a royal mandate.
(in the League of Nations) a commission given to a nation to administer the government and affairs of a former Turkish territory or German colony.
a mandated territory or colony.
Roman Catholic Church. an order issued by the pope, especially one commanding the preferment of a certain person to a benefice.
Roman and Civil Law. a contract by which one engages gratuitously to perform services for another.
(in modern civil law) any contract by which a person undertakes to perform services for another.
Roman Law. an order or decree by the emperor, especially to governors of provinces.
verb (used with object), mandated, mandating.
to authorize or decree (a particular action), as by the enactment of law:
The state legislature mandated an increase in the minimum wage.
to order or require; make mandatory:
to mandate sweeping changes in the election process.
to consign (a territory, colony, etc.) to the charge of a particular nation under a mandate.
Origin of mandate
1540-50; < Latin mandātum, noun use of neuter of mandātus, past participle of mandāre to commission, literally, to give into (someone's) hand. See manus, date1
Related forms
unmandated, adjective
3. fiat, decree, injunction, edict, ruling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mandates
  • The other bill would prevent federal agencies from imposing such mandates.
  • Again, wealth feeds off ubiquity, and ubiquity usually mandates some level of sharing.
  • Our economy mandates a certain slow phaseout of it but in the end, it has to go.
  • Sadly, its probably too damned late to use any sort of mandates or other mechanisms to reverse climate change at this point.
  • It also mandates that only manufacturers need to determine if a supplement can stand up to claims made about its benefits.
  • The only reason they are installed is because of federal subsidies and state mandates.
  • The other, implemented last year, mandates that hospitals provide new parents with safe sleeping information.
  • Their mandates need to be refined to include clear responsibility for both price and financial stability.
  • What threw a wrench into that concept was the furious right-wing turn against health-insurance mandates over the past three years.
  • And what governments cannot buy they can often obtain through legal authority and data retention mandates.
British Dictionary definitions for mandates


noun (ˈmændeɪt; -dɪt)
an official or authoritative instruction or command
(politics) the support or commission given to a government and its policies or an elected representative and his policies through an electoral victory
(often capital) Also called mandated territory. (formerly) any of the territories under the trusteeship of the League of Nations administered by one of its member states
  1. (Roman law) a contract by which one person commissions another to act for him gratuitously and the other accepts the commission
  2. (contract law) a contract of bailment under which the party entrusted with goods undertakes to perform gratuitously some service in respect of such goods
  3. (Scots law) a contract by which a person is engaged to act in the management of the affairs of another
verb (transitive) (ˈmændeɪt)
(international law) to assign (territory) to a nation under a mandate
to delegate authority to
(obsolete) to give a command to
Derived Forms
mandator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin mandātum something commanded, from mandāre to command, perhaps from manus hand + dāre to give
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for mandates



"judicial or legal order," c.1500, from Middle French mandat (15c.) and directly from Latin mandatum "commission, command, order," noun use of neuter past participle of mandare "to order, commit to one's charge," literally "to give into one's hand," probably from manus "hand" (see manual) + dare "to give" (see date (n.1)). Political sense of "approval supposedly conferred by voters to the policies or slogans advocated by winners of an election" is from 1796. League of Nations sense is from 1919.


1620s, "to command," from mandate (n.). Meaning "to delegate authority, permit to act on behalf of a group" is from 1958; used earlier in the context of the League of Nations, "to authorize a power to control a certain territory for some specified purpose" (1919). Related: Mandated; mandating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mandates in Culture

mandate definition

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.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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