Origins of Common Words - Candidate

About the history, origins, and definitions of the common word candidate.

UNCOMMON STORIES BEHIND COMMON WORDS

Candidate - William Jennings Bryan, campaigning for the presidency in his white suit, was merely capitalizing on the psychology of wearing white discovered by his Roman counterparts 2,000 years before. Originally a candidatus was any person clothed in white, but gradually men running for public office, anxious to emphasize their pure and unsullied character, began appearing in the Forum and the Roman baths attired in immaculate white togas. Winter dress, of natural sheep's wool, was brightened with chalk for the desired effect. In time candidatus became synonymous with "seeker of public office." The word candid comes from the same Latin root; the similarity stops there.

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