Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Delegate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is delegate. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Delegate means “to give control, responsibility, or authority to someone; to trust someone with a job or duty.” It can also mean “to choose someone to do something.”

// Our supervisor delegated management of the office to another senior colleague while she was on vacation.

// Good leaders know how to delegate.

DELEGATE in Context

“The highlight of the holiday season for most people is sharing time with their family and loved ones, which can even include enjoying all the preparation. You may feel it’s easier to do everything yourself, but don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to other people. If you set a precedent of including others, you create shared experiences. This will yield a greater sense of collective joy.” — Jennifer Guttman, Psychology Today, 16 Nov. 2022

Did You Know?

To delegate is, literally or figuratively, to send another in one’s place, an idea that is reflected in the word’s origin: it is a descendant of the Latin word legare, meaning “to send.” The noun delegate, which refers to a person who is chosen or elected to vote or act for others, arrived in English in the 14th century, while the verb didn’t make its entrée till the early 16th century. Some distant cousins of the word delegate that also trace back to legareinclude legacycolleaguerelegate, and legate, “an official representative sent to a foreign country.”

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