1 : to entrust to another
2 : to appoint as one's representative
3 : to assign responsibility or authority
This word is based in the Latin legare, meaning "to send as an emissary." The root is totally lost on the contemporary use of DELEGATE, which usually connotes spreading out responsibilities among menial underlings.
DELEGATE means you not only know how to spread work out (the word also slightly implies prioritizing), but it means you're not a pussy—you know how to give an order. And, on an even more complicated level, you know who to give the order to. The DELEGATOR doesn't just pass on responsibility because she doesn't want it for herself—she knows who is best at each task, and assigns accordingly.
I have a folder of "job stuff" that includes obsolete resumes, poorly written cover letters, some expensive printer paper, and a stapled printout from some place called "The Rockport Institute" of an alphabetical list of POWERWORDS. DELEGATE is what someone might refer to as a $100 resume word, the kind of action verb that sits appropriately on this list among others like: allocate, correspond, maintain, and spearhead (you can thank me and not Rockport for that last one). This list annoys me. I mean, I adore my thesaurus, but the whole resume thing is so contrived, it almost physically hurts me to participate.
Let's talk about what I did today in resume speak:
I ORGANIZED a CONSULTATION with a COLLEAGUE during which we ADMINISTERED CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM, EVALUATED each other's writing, and hopefully INCREASED levels of MOTIVATION, all while we TACKLED two cups of coffee.
I then returned home to REVISE, CLARIFY, IMPROVE, and TRANSFORM an essay I am COMPOSING about VAGINAS, which I hope one day to PUBLISH.
When this TASK was COMPLETED, I EXPRESSED my relief by INITIATING some loud music, and ADMINISTERING some dance moves, while I simultaneously COLLECTING my dirty laundry in order to MAINTAIN levels of PRODUCTIVITY.
DELEGATE that, motherfucker.(I don't know what this last part means, it just sounded right.)