administer

administer, administrate
For many centuries, the normal word corresponding to administration and meaning ‘to manage (affairs)’ has been administer

• (The Rezzoris were minor Austrian gentry administering the outposts of empire —London Review of Books, 1990).

In recent years, however, the longer form administrate (first recorded in the 17c) has increasingly been used as a kind of newly invented back-formation, and is now awkwardly challenging administer in its traditional meanings:

• The machinery of such aid is still primed by administrators eager to go out and administrate —Times, 1981

They [speed cameras] are very expensive to install, maintain, administrate and police —Yorkshire Post, 2006.

Administer is, on the other hand, routinely used to mean ‘to give (medicine) to a patient’

• (I was brimming with alcohol —administered to loosen my tongue —A. Price, 1982)

and is also being increasingly used in two other meanings:
1. to inflict (punishment, blows, etc.) on someone

• (Two others held her feet while the headmaster administered the cane —B. Emecheta, 1974).

2. in medical contexts administer is used instead of minister to (an injured person, etc.):

• The fact that Ranjit is still alive today is a tribute to the ambulance attendants who administered to him at the scene —Oxford Times, 1977

• American doctors, being vastly rich, have better things to do with their leisure time than administer to patients at weekends —Times, 1994.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • administer — ad·min·is·ter /əd mi nə stər/ vb is·tered, is·ter·ing vt 1: to manage the affairs of (as a government or agency) 2 a: to direct or supervise the execution, use, or conduct of administer a trust fund b: to settle (an estate) under a court appoin …   Law dictionary

  • administer — ad‧min‧is‧ter [ədˈmɪnstə ǁ ər] verb [transitive] 1. COMMERCE to manage, organize, and control something and make sure it is dealt with correctly: • A new national fund will be administered by the insurance industry. • the bureaucrats who… …   Financial and business terms

  • Administer — Ad*min is*ter, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Administered}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Administering}.] [OE. aministren, OF. aministrer, F. administer, fr. L. administrare; ad + ministrare to serve. See {Minister}.] 1. To manage or conduct, as public affairs; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • administer — administer, dispense come into comparison because they are used in certain idiomatic phrases, similar in wording but not always equivalent in meaning, such as administer justice or dispense justice; administer a medicine or dispense medicine;… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • administer — [v1] manage an organization or effort administrate, be in the driver’s seat*, be in the saddle*, boss*, carry out, conduct, control, crack the whip*, direct, execute, govern, head, head up*, hold the reins*, oversee, pull the strings*, pull the… …   New thesaurus

  • administer — [ad min′is tər, ədmin′istər] vt. [ME aministren < OFr aministrer < L administrare < ad , to + ministrare, to serve] 1. to manage or direct (the affairs of a government, institution, etc.) 2. to give out or dispense, as punishment or… …   English World dictionary

  • Administer — Ad*min is*ter, v. i. 1. To contribute; to bring aid or supplies; to conduce; to minister. [1913 Webster] A fountain . . . administers to the pleasure as well as the plenty of the place. Spectator. [1913 Webster] 2. (Law) To perform the office of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Administer — Ad*min is*ter, n. Administrator. [Obs.] Bacon. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • administer to — index accommodate, assist, bequeath, care (regard), concern (care), serve (assist) …   Law dictionary

  • administer — (v.) late 14c., administren, aministren to manage as a steward, from O.Fr. amenistrer help, aid, be of service to (12c., Mod.Fr. administrer, the d restored 16c.), and directly from L. administrare manage, control, guide, superintend; rule direct …   Etymology dictionary

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