As a non-native speaker quite often I get in trouble with slight differences between concepts. So, regarding to this doubt I think both of them are used to express the same thing but I'm not sure about it.

After looking for an answer in my dictionary but having no answer, I was told by a lawyer (ESL-learner) that these two words are similar in the matter of laws. However, I wanted to make it clear.

Could anyone help me out?

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, tchrist, anongoodnurse, user66974, Ronan Jul 2 '14 at 8:33

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    Neither the sheriff nor his deputies are legislators. – tchrist Jul 1 '14 at 19:13
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    I suspect that this question may be based on what Russian lawmakers are called. Members of the Russian State Duma are referred to as deputies en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Duma – Tristan r Jul 1 '14 at 19:48
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    Why not ask a dictionary, rather than an "ESL-learner"? – FumbleFingers Jul 1 '14 at 22:14

In America, "lawmakers" would be the people who write and approve laws. At the federal level and in most states these are Senators and Representatives. City governments may have a City Council or commission that makes laws. Lawmakers literally make laws.

A deputy is a substitute for some officer. The most common example is in law enforcement, where a police department has deputies (they may be volunteers, or lack the full training and authority of normal police).

Many organizations in the government call their second in command a "deputy". A county may have a coroner who is responsible for investigating deaths in their county, and their second in command may be the Deputy Coroner.

Outside of America, many federal lawmakers are called deputies. For example, Colombia's legislature is called Camara de Diputados - the Chamber of Deputies.

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    A deputy is someone appointed as an agent (which is how the word is used for both substitute and representative, say in a legislative assembly). – Andrew Leach Jul 1 '14 at 21:02
  • You hit the nail on the head while adressing Columbia's legislature because in my country people in charge of make laws are widely-known as "Diputados". Therefore, that's the point where I got lost. Thank you for giving me a reference. – rickHdz Jul 2 '14 at 15:39
  • Please, the country is Colombia, not Columbia. – Brian Donovan Nov 30 '14 at 16:35
  • Thanks, Brian. I've updated the post with the correct spelling. – indigochild Dec 24 '14 at 2:29

A deputy can be anyone acting for and deriving authority from another. In American English at least, the term usually refers to a sworn peace officer working under an elected county sheriff, but the term is indeed sometimes applied to members of representative legislative bodies. See Chamber of Deputies (Wikipedia) for countries and periods with which this terminology is associated.

  • Also the official English translation of the Irish "Teachta Dála" is "Deputy to the Dáil". In that case and those you mention, deputy is the title while law-maker is what they do. – Jon Hanna Dec 24 '14 at 2:39

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