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

  • n. An assembly or a council of citizens having the highest deliberative and legislative functions in a government, specifically:
  • n. The upper house of the U.S. Congress, to which two members are elected from each state by popular vote for a six-year term.
  • n. The upper house in the bicameral legislature of many states in the United States.
  • n. The upper legislative house in Canada, France, and some other countries.
  • n. The supreme council of state of the ancient Roman Republic and later of the Roman Empire.
  • n. The building or hall in which such a council or assembly meets.
  • n. A governing, advisory, or disciplinary body of some colleges and universities composed of faculty members and sometimes student representatives.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In some bicameral legislative systems, the upper house or chamber.
  • n. A group of experienced, respected, wise individuals serving as decision makers or advisors in a political system or in institutional governance, as in a university, and traditionally of advanced age and male.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An assembly or council having the highest deliberative and legislative functions.
  • n. A body of elders appointed or elected from among the nobles of the nation, and having supreme legislative authority.
  • n. The upper and less numerous branch of a legislature in various countries, as in France, in the United States, in most of the separate States of the United States, and in some Swiss cantons.
  • n. In general, a legislative body; a state council; the legislative department of government.
  • n. The governing body of the Universities of Cambridge and London.
  • n. In some American colleges, a council of elected students, presided over by the president of the college, to which are referred cases of discipline and matters of general concern affecting the students.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An assembly or council of citizens invested with a share in the government of a state.
  • n. In an extended use. a body of venerable or distinguished persons.
  • n. The governing body of the University of Cambridge, and of some other institutions of learning.
  • n. In certain American colleges, where the students take part in the discipline of the institution, a disciplining and advisory body composed of members of the faculty and representatives of the students.

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

  • n. the upper house of the United States Congress
  • n. assembly possessing high legislative powers


Middle English senat, from Old French, from Latin senātus, from senex, sen-, old, an elder; see sen- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English senat, from Old French senat, from Latin senātus ("council of elders; a senate"), from senex ("old"). (Wiktionary)



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