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

Its senate’s Democrats are just short of that fraction, with 60 percent of the seats. Kyle Sammin, National Review, "Oregon Democrats Outsource Their Duty to Drag Republicans Back to the Legislature," 28 June 2019 Documents in the case have reportedly been sealed and police have released few details about the circumstances surrounding the death of Collins-Smith, who was elected to the state senate as a Republican in 2014 but lost a re-election bid last year. Erin Donaghue, CBS News, "Friend of slain former Arkansas state senator charged with murder," 17 June 2019 As Congress was preparing its budget for 1989, there was a strong push in the senate to only provide a bare minimum of funding—about $250 million—for its development, far short of Reagan’s request of nearly $1 billion. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "NASA Went to the Stock Exchange to Try to Sell the ISS," 7 June 2019 The lopsidedness of this equation was not lost to people on social media, some of whom pointed out that just nine women have ever served in the Alabama state senate. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "These Are the 25 Men Who Voted for the Most Restrictive Abortion Ban in America," 15 May 2019 The senate race in Indiana is soon going to get some personal attention from the White House. Fox News, "What's really at stake in 2018," 4 May 2018 The state senate in California on Tuesday reportedly voted in favor of legislation that would up the legal purchasing age for rifles and shotguns, and would set restrictions on long guns. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "California Senate OKs bill raising age to buy rifles, shotguns from 18 to 21," 29 May 2018 Wisconsin Republican senate candidate Kevin Nicholson speaks with reporters in Madison on Jan. 30, 2018. Scott Bauer,, "Sen. Duckworth, 12 Dems call for Nicholson to apologize for comments about veterans," 9 May 2018 Republican voters on Tuesday will choose a senate candidate to challenge Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly in the fall. Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star, "What you need to know before voting in the Indiana primary election," 6 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

12 Jul 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

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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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