Middle English delegat, from Medieval Latin delegatus, from Latin, past participle of delegare to delegate, from de- + legare to send
- Date: 15th century
- a person acting for another: as a : a representative to a convention or conference
- b : a representative of a United States territory in the House of Representatives
- c : a member of the lower house of the legislature of Maryland, Virginia, or West Virginia
A delegate is a person who speaks or acts on behalf of an organization (e.g., a government, a charity, an NGO, or a trade union) at a meeting or conference between organizations of the same level (e.g., trade talks or an environmental summit between governments; an arbitration over an industrial dispute; or a meeting of student unions from individual colleges at a national student union conference). Generally, but not always, delegates differ from representatives because they receive and carry out instructions from the group that sends them, and, unlike representatives, are not expected to act independently.