9

I see on some sites that "candidate" is used as a verb.
Example:

I am candidating for this position.

But I find it only listed as a noun by Lexico and Cambridge Dictionary.

Can this word be used as a verb?

  • 20
    What a horrible usage! What's wrong with "I am a candidate for this position"? – Kate Bunting Jul 12 at 8:17
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA The full close reason is lack of research or the question is better suited to ELL. Maybe the close votes were for the second half. – David Richerby Jul 12 at 17:11
  • 6
    There's no noun that can't be verbed – BlueWhale Jul 12 at 20:40
  • 5
    @BlueWhale "Verbing weirds language" - Calvin – Deepak Jul 13 at 4:59
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby EL&U users already have the option to migrate posts to ELL. By selecting the lack of research, a close-voter is suggesting the OP is unable to find help online, so perhaps they should try our sister-site. The implied message being that native or highly competent speakers easily know the answer to the language question. – Mari-Lou A Jul 13 at 9:18
16

Yes, the noun candidate can be used as a verb. Verbing nouns is very common in English. However, in a very formal setting such as a job application, I would avoid it. Instead, I'd suggest the following solution:

"I am applying for the position of blah, blah, blah"

  1. The important thing is to understand that the interviewer must understand the candidate's personality and if he/she is fit for the position where he is candidated. source
  2. Maybe he's candidating for the UCA ministry? source
  3. Like a number of human politicians, such as the Queensland Premier, Loupi lives outside the electorate he's candidating for. If you want to know more about him, ... source
  4. I think she should be on the ballot and I would vote for her no matter what she was candidating for. She is brilliant, has a kindness about her ... source
  5. The contest is open to all artists regardless of age, sex, nationality or artistic curriculum and can participate with no more than 3 works; they can be candidated even in different sections. source
  • 18
    Yes, the noun candidate can be used as a verb. -- but that does not mean it should be. – Owain Jul 12 at 11:26
  • 1
    I think the political examples (where someone is running for office) could use campaigning rather than applying for. – Zack Jul 12 at 12:33
  • @jsw29 I'd like to point out that (5) has been deleted, I was out all day yesterday and waited until I was home before fixing it. Thank you to everyone who pointed out the mistake, it looked like a sentence using "going to" with a future meaning but instead I totally glossed over the possessive marker Joe Biden's in "going to candidate Joe Biden's Cedar Rapids" – Mari-Lou A Jul 13 at 15:25
  • Thanks for the answer! – Julien Maria Jul 14 at 19:16
9

The OED lists this as

candidate, v. 2

U.S. colloquial.
To stand as a candidate.

  • 1848 J. R. Lowell Biglow Papers 1st ser. viii. 122 The can'idatin' line, you know, 'ould suit me to a T... So I'll set up ez can'idate fer any kin' o' office.
  • 1884 Cent. Mag. June 308/1 Let him put the question to some [choir-singers] who every spring have to candidate for a situation.
  • 1909 Springfield (Mass.) Weekly Republican 2 Sept. 14 Mr. Seccombe candidated in the Goschen church last spring.

Not being in the U.S. myself, I'd look at you oddly if you said you were "canditating for this position".

While there is a tradition of "verbification", it's not advised to coin a new verb yourself in formal speech, especially if an appropriate verb -- in your case applying -- is available. Unmoderated verbing weirds language.

  • 3
    In the present day, however, I would say candidating is mainly jocular, except in the jargon of Baptist and Congregationalist churches. – choster Jul 12 at 16:12
  • I upvoted because of the OED reference but the OP was questioning whether the form was legitimate or possible having seen instances of this usage in the wild. – Mari-Lou A Jul 13 at 7:55
  • 2
    As an American, I would find this odd as well. Maybe it's used as jargon in some subcultures, but it's probably not a great idea to just throw it into a sentence apropos of nothing. – Kevin Jul 13 at 13:36
2

Candidate (Dictionary.com)

verb (used without object) can·di·dat·ed, can·di·dat·ing.

to become a candidate for service as a new minister of a church; preach  before a congregation that is seeking  a new minister.

1

As a BE speaker, novel verbing of a noun makes the speaker sound like they are speaking AmE. If it's common to create new terms, it's in American English rather than British English. I guess what I am saying is it's probably more acceptable to citizens of the US than to those of the UK. In the UK many of them grate and most such usages should be avoided. There are some examples in BE (for instance abusing the name of a maker of vaccum cleaners, most BE speakers would not find 'hoovering' at all out of place, whereas the verbing of 'medal' as in 'Usaine Bolt is medalling' is something only a few sports commentators use in BE) but fewer than AmE.

  • 6
    I'm a bit skeptical of this claim. I'm not saying you're wrong, but (1) there's a long history of British speakers perceiving usages as "Americanisms" that are no such thing; (2) just because you hear an American say something that sounds strange to you, that doesn't mean that all Americans would find it normal and all Brits would find it strange; and (3) you would never notice if there's a verbing that you use and Americans don't. – ruakh Jul 12 at 15:39
  • 2
    (For the specific example of candidating, by the way, I find it just as strange as you do. I'm not even sure how to pronounce it; "candidate-ing" is really hard to say, but "candi-dating" seems obviously wrong.) – ruakh Jul 12 at 15:43
  • @ruakh I would certainly say "candi-dating", but then I also say "candi-date". – OrangeDog Jul 12 at 15:47
  • 3
    @ruakh I think it's that verbing nouns like this is quite common in business-speak which, in turn, is perceived as being American, for whatever reason. – David Richerby Jul 12 at 17:06
  • This verb may be imported from native speakers of German, where there is the verb kandidieren. – rexkogitans Jul 13 at 19:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.