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OF. legat, ad. L. lgtus, pa. pple. of lgre to send as a deputy (also, to bequeath)
- 1. An ecclesiastic deputed to represent the Pope and armed with his authority. legate of the cross: one entitled to have a cross borne before him, as an emblem of dignity.
- b. The ruler of a legation, i.e. one of the provinces of the Papal States.
- c. legate a (or de) latere (also in semi-English or English form, of latere, of the side): the designation of a legate of the highest class, one whose acts are regarded as virtually those of the Pope himself.
- 2. gen. An ambassador, delegate, messenger.
- 3. Rom. Hist. The deputy or lieutenant of a general, or of the governor of a province; under the empire, the governor himself. Also transf.