"to send with power to transact business as a representative," 1520s, from past-participle stem of Latin delegare "to send as a representative," from de "from, away" (see de-) + legare "send with a commission," possibly literally "engage by contract" and related to lex (genitive legis) "contract, law," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather." Related: Delegated; delegating.
late 15c., "person appointed and sent by another or others with power to transact business as a representative," from the past-participle adjective (early 15c.), from Old French delegat or directly from Latin delegatus, past participle of delegare "to send as a representative," from de- "from, away" (see de-) + legare "send with a commission," possibly literally "engage by contract" and related to lex (genitive legis) "contract, law," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather."
Sense of "person sent with representative powers to a convention, conference, etc." is from c. 1600. In U.S., "person elected or appointed to represent a territory in Congress," by 1825.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to collect, gather," with derivatives meaning "to speak" on the notion of "to gather words, to pick out words."
It forms all or part of: alexia; analects; analogous; analogue; analogy; anthology; apologetic; apologue; apology; catalogue; coil; colleague; collect; college; collegial; Decalogue; delegate; dialect; dialogue; diligence; doxology; dyslexia; eclectic; eclogue; elect; election; epilogue; hapax legomenon; homologous; horology; ideologue; idiolect; intelligence; lectern; lectio difficilior; lection; lector; lecture; leech (n.2) "physician;" legacy; legal; legate; legend; legible; legion; legislator; legitimate; lesson; lexicon; ligneous; ligni-; logarithm; logic; logistic; logo-; logogriph; logopoeia; Logos; -logue; -logy; loyal; monologue; neglect; neologism; philology; privilege; prolegomenon; prologue; relegate; sacrilege; select; syllogism; tautology; trilogy.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek legein "to say, tell, speak, declare; to count," originally, in Homer, "to pick out, select, collect, enumerate;" lexis "speech, diction;" logos "word, speech, thought, account;" Latin legere "to gather, choose, pluck; read," lignum "wood, firewood," literally "that which is gathered," legare "to depute, commission, charge," lex "law" (perhaps "collection of rules"); Albanian mb-ledh "to collect, harvest;" Gothic lisan "to collect, harvest," Lithuanian lesti "to pick, eat picking;" Hittite less-zi "to pick, gather."
1620s, "to command," from mandate (n.). Meaning "to delegate authority, permit to act on behalf of a group" is from 1958; used earlier in the context of the League of Nations, "to authorize a power to control a certain territory for some specified purpose" (1919). Related: Mandated; mandating.
mid-12c., "authorized representative of the Pope," from Old French legat and directly from Latin legatus "ambassador, envoy," originally "provided with a commission," past participle of legare "send as a deputy, send with a commission, charge, bequeath," possibly literally "engage by contract" and related to lex (genitive legis) "contract, law," from PIE root *leg- (1) "to collect, gather." General sense of "ambassador, delegate, messenger of a state or authority" is from late 14c. in English. Related: Legator; legatee; legatine.
late 14c., secondarie, "belonging to the second class; not chief or principal; second in importance or authority; of a lesser quality or worth; subordinate to something else, depending upon the action of primary qualities," from Old French secondaire and directly from Latin secundarius "pertaining to the second class, inferior," from secundus (see second (adj.)).
Opposed to primary (adj.) or principal (adj.). Of colors, under the old theory, from 1831; in reference to schools or education, from 1809. Of characteristics peculiar to one sex but not necessary for reproduction, from 1780. Related: Secondarily; secondariness.
As a noun from mid-15c. as "thing or place of secondary importance or which is dependent on a primary;" 1590s as "a delegate or deputy." The U.S. football sense of "defensive backfield" is by 1955.