mandate-n; 4 Senses

Sense Number 1: an official document with orders or instructions

Commentary: MANDATE[+entity][+document][+official][+order]

The State Department sent a mandate to seek the release of several citizens who are being held prisoner
The judge's mandate was three pages long.
This is a forged mandate allegedly allowing John to withdraw funds from my bank account.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1

Sense Number 2: a commission granted by League of Nations after WWI, for member states to govern surrendered territories

Commentary: MANDATE[+action][+social][+authorization][+granted][+governance][+territory][+surrendered][+League_of_Nations]
NOTE: a historical and more narrow usage than Sense 3

It's a book about the British mandate of Palestine.
These parts of Turkey became mandates after the first World War.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 2

Sense Number 3: authorization granted to act in some way

Commentary: MANDATE[+action][+social][+authorization][+granted]

The President claims he was given a mandate by the America people.
The extremely narrow victory in this election is hardly a mandate for the new administration's policies.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 3

Sense Number 4: the span of time during which a government is in power

Commentary: MANDATE[+extent][+temporal][+power][+government][+elected]
NOTE: this is Canadian usage

The mandate of that Labor government lasted four years.

WordNet 0.0 Sense Numbers: 2a