Word Choice – Designate Versus Designee

Seng’s question: “When referring to a person who may be delegated a task, would you write designate or designee? For example, the manager or designate/designee is responsible for approving the report.”

BizWritingTip response: Designate is a verb meaning “to appoint” or “to mark or point out clearly.”

Examples

Who was designated to write the report?
I will ask my manager to designate the project as high priority.

Designate can also be used as an adjective and placed after a noun, e.g., ambassador designate. It indicates someone who is “appointed to a position but not yet officially occupying it.”

We also have the adjective designated, e.g., designated hitter or designated driver.  One who designates is called a designator.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary and yourdictionary.com define designee as “one that is designated.” Interestingly, I couldn’t find the word in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.

Examples

The manager or designee is responsible for approving the report.
Plaques will be used to honour donors’ designees.

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