from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A writ issued by a superior court ordering a public official or body or a lower court to perform a specified duty.
  • transitive v. To serve or compel with such a writ.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A common law prerogative writ that compels a court or government officer to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties correctly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A writ issued by a superior court and directed to some inferior tribunal, or to some corporation or person exercising authority, commanding the performance of some specified duty.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To issue a mandamus to; serve with a mandamus.
  • n. In law, a writ issuing from a superior court, directed to an inferior court, an officer, a corporation, or other body, requiring the person or persons addressed to do some act therein specified, as being within their office and duty, as to admit or restore a person to an office or franchise, or to deliver papers, affix a seal to a paper, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an extraordinary writ commanding an official to perform a ministerial act that the law recognizes as an absolute duty and not a matter for the official's discretion; used only when all other judicial remedies fail


Latin mandāmus, we order (used in such a writ), first person pl. present tense of mandāre, to order; see man-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin mandāmus "we command" (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.