sen·​ate | \ ˈse-nət How to pronounce senate (audio) \

Definition of senate

1 : an assembly or council usually possessing high deliberative and legislative functions: such as
a : the supreme council of the ancient Roman republic and empire
b : the second chamber in the bicameral legislature of a major political unit (such as a nation, state, or province)
2 : the hall or chamber in which a senate meets
3 : a governing body of some universities charged with maintaining academic standards and regulations and usually composed of the principal or representative members of the faculty

Examples of senate in a Sentence

the New York State Senate The Senate approved the bill. The Senate voted to repeal the tax cut.
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Recent Examples on the Web

About 89 million Mexicans were registered to cast ballots in the election for president, the 500-member lower house of congress, the 128-member senate, nine governorships and thousands of state and municipal officials and legislators. Robbie Whelan, WSJ, "Mexicans Head to Polls to Elect President," 1 July 2018 Its recommendations are reviewed by the faculty senate, then by the board of trustees. Dawn Rhodes,, "Northwestern University trustees to consider rescinding Bill Cosby's honorary degree," 2 May 2018 The proposal is under deliberation by Catholic’s academic senate, a body that includes professors and administrators. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, "Catholic University plans to cut full-time faculty by 9 percent," 30 Apr. 2018 The co-petitioner is George Shen, who this month ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate for state senate and now heads an Asian-American advocacy organization. Douglas Belkin, WSJ, "Law Professor Seeks Data on Admissions at UC System," 15 Nov. 2018 Woman running for senate in the 2018 midterm elections. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "#ReadWithMC Reviews 'Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win'," 1 Oct. 2018 In 2018 women are on the ballot in 63 percent of state senate seats and 71 percent of statehouse seats. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Campaigns Are Like Marathons—It’s Better to Run One With a Friend," 18 Sep. 2018 After wins on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, Democratic ranks in the state senate rose from 31 to at least 37, and possibly 39. WSJ, "Democrats Take Control of New York State Senate for First Time Since 2010," 7 Nov. 2018 The same day the school's academic senate called on Nikias to resign. NBC News, "USC president C.L. Max Nikias to quit amid sex abuse scandal," 26 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'senate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of senate

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for senate

Middle English senat, from Anglo-French, from Latin senatus, from sen-, senex old, old man — more at senior

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Statistics for senate

Last Updated

8 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for senate

The first known use of senate was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for senate



English Language Learners Definition of senate

: the smaller group of the two groups of people who meet to discuss and make the laws of a country, state, etc. especially : the smaller group of the two groups that form the U.S. Congress
: a group of people who govern some colleges and universities
: the group of officials who led the ancient Roman government


sen·​ate | \ ˈse-nət How to pronounce senate (audio) \

Kids Definition of senate

1 capitalized : the upper house of a legislature (as the United States Congress)
2 : a governing body


sen·​ate | \ ˈse-nət How to pronounce senate (audio) \

Legal Definition of senate

: the upper chamber in a bicameral legislature especially, capitalized : the upper house of the U.S. Congress or a state legislature

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More from Merriam-Webster on senate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with senate

Spanish Central: Translation of senate

Nglish: Translation of senate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of senate for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about senate

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