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Legate Leg"ate (l[e^]g"[asl]t), n. [OE. legat, L. legatus, fr. legare to send with a commission or charge, to depute, fr. lex, legis, law: cf. F. l['e]gat, It. legato. See {Legal}.] 1. An ambassador or envoy. [1913 Webster]

2. An ecclesiastic representing the pope and invested with the authority of the Holy See. [1913 Webster]

Note: Legates are of three kinds: ({a}) Legates a latere, now always cardinals. They are called ordinary or extraordinary legates, the former governing provinces, and the latter class being sent to foreign countries on extraordinary occasions. ({b}) Legati missi, who correspond to the ambassadors of temporal governments. ({c}) Legati nati, or legates by virtue of their office, as the archbishops of Salzburg and Prague. [1913 Webster]

3. (Rom. Hist.) (a) An official assistant given to a general or to the governor of a province. (b) Under the emperors, a governor sent to a province. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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