se·​nior·​i·​ty | \ sēn-ˈyȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce seniority (audio) , -ˈyär-\

Definition of seniority

1 : the quality or state of being senior : priority
2 : a privileged status attained by length of continuous service (as in a company)

Examples of seniority in a Sentence

Promotions are based on merit and seniority. a teacher with less seniority He has worked here longer than I have, so he has seniority over me.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Benson dispensed with seniority and chose the ship’s most capable senior officer to oversee its critical 24-hour watch. Sam Walker, WSJ, "In Menacing Seas, the Navy Relies on ‘Battle Rhythm’," 15 June 2019 By 1995, Stevens was second in seniority to conservative Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. Los Angeles Times, "John Paul Stevens, retired Supreme Court justice, dead at 99," 16 July 2019 One person familiar with Mr. Ducey’s thinking said Mr. Kyl’s successor would be sworn in after her, making him or her junior in seniority to Ms. Sinema. Joshua Jamerson And Reid J. Epstein, WSJ, "Arizona GOP Sen. Kyl Will Resign Dec. 31," 14 Dec. 2018 The idea of curbing the power of seniority has encountered blistering criticism from long-time lawmakers and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, several of whose members are in line to lead committees. Alan Fram, The Seattle Times, "Pelosi, Dem critics discuss plan to limit top leaders’ terms," 11 Dec. 2018 The goal should not be to eliminate gaps but to get firms to think about which differences in seniority and pay are justified and which are not. The Economist, "How to narrow Britain’s gender-pay gap," 7 Apr. 2018 The measure amended Houston's charter to grant firefighters the same pay as police officers of corresponding rank and seniority. Jasper Scherer, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Police Officers Union endorses Turner for re-election," 17 July 2019 As for the question of whether Pelosi is discriminating against The Squad on the basis of gender, seniority and skin color, most Democrats find that absurd. Jonathan Allen, NBC News, "Amid 'race card' allegations, Pelosi teaches Ocasio-Cortez a math lesson," 14 July 2019 What’s progressive about defending a system that elevates seniority above quality in hiring, firing, placement, and promotion of teachers and principals? Ben Austin, Orange County Register, "Since when is putting students before bureaucratic and union interests breaking news?," 12 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'seniority.' 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 seniority

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for seniority

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for seniority

The first known use of seniority was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for seniority



English Language Learners Definition of seniority

: the amount of time you have worked at a job or for a company compared to other employees
: the state of having a higher rank than another person


se·​nior·​i·​ty | \ sēn-ˈyȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce seniority (audio) \

Legal Definition of seniority

1 : the quality or state of being senior
2 : the senior status attained by length of continuous service (as in a company) also : the length of such continuous service

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More from Merriam-Webster on seniority

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with seniority

Spanish Central: Translation of seniority

Nglish: Translation of seniority for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of seniority for Arabic Speakers

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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