I'm in search of the word that describes the strong referendum that a candidate receives upon a strong election win that grants him or her vast leeway in enacting policy reform. I can't quite get it; referendum is close, but I believe that there's a more specific word for this, perhaps 3-4 syllables and starting with a 'c'.

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    General Reference. Any competent native speaker would expect the word mandate at the end of the question, and see the glaring misuse of referendum as indicating poor knowledge of English political terminology. Oct 17, 2012 at 3:35
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    Sometimes even teenagers (I have no idea how old Matt B. is or whether he's a native speaker of English) have "senior moments" where they forget such obvious and common terms. It used to happen to me all the time. Still does. :-(
    – user21497
    Oct 17, 2012 at 4:35
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    But if the asker doesn't know or doesn't remember the word "mandate", how is he supposed to look it up in a general reference? If he knew the word but had questions about the definition, he could look it up in a dictionary, but the reverse process is much tougher.
    – Jay
    Oct 17, 2012 at 5:12

2 Answers 2


I don’t know what you mean there by referendum — that isn’t how I use that word — but you might be looking for the rather overused mandate.


If a candidate wins in a landslide (by a large margin "a : a great majority of votes for one side; b : an overwhelming victory"), then he or she has what is called a mandate ("an authorization to act: He won the election so convincingly that he believed he had been given a mandate for change.)

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