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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The party also scored an upset in an Indiana senate seat in District 29, which includes Carmel, when J.D. Ford beat Republican incumbent Mike Delph. John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star, "Hamilton County Democrats try but fail to put up any candidates for mayor seats," 8 May 2019 State Senator John Arthur Smith, also a Democrat who heads the state senate’s finance committee, worried the credit program sapped funds otherwise going to New Mexico’s public education, which has historically lagged behind other states. Erich Schwartzel, WSJ, "New Mexico’s Filmmaking-Incentive Program May Be Too Attractive," 30 Dec. 2018 Salazar, who served as Colorado’s senator between 2005 and 2009, notably chose to endorse Biden over his senate-seat successor and fellow moderate, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. NBC News, "Joe Biden gets another high-profile Latino endorsement," 17 Sep. 2019 Mr Tokayev also affirmed Mr Nazarbayev’s daughter Dariga as head of the senate and thus next in line to the presidency. The Economist, "Politics this week," 5 Sep. 2019 Stung by the loss after 11 straight electoral victories, Deddeh resigned his state senate seat a year later. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Wadie Deddeh, longtime state legislator, dies at 98," 30 Aug. 2019 The 2020 special election for Arizona’s senate seat will fill the unexpired term of the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. McSally lost her race in 2018 against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "Why a retired teacher from Flagstaff will challenge Martha McSally in 2020 GOP primary," 11 July 2019 The senate seat isn’t the only elected office in which potential candidates are expressing interest, Simpson said. Sheila Vilvens,, "Clermont County 'Trump Republican' among candidates eyeing state, county office runs," 1 July 2019 Bodo, who became vice president of the student senate and is now living rent-free in the home of a professor, has since become an activist around the issue of homelessness. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Homeless in College: Students sleep in cars, on couches when they have nowhere else to go," 10 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about senate

Statistics for senate

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for senate

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on senate

What made you want to look up senate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to be made up of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!