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

If Democrats win control of the House in November, seniority would enable Norton to chair a subcommittee or even a full committee, although the District’s delegate does not have full voting rights in the chamber. Jenna Portnoy, Washington Post, "Eleanor Holmes Norton, seeking 15th term, faces Democratic challenger in DC primary," 15 May 2018 House Democrats have long used a system that rewards seniority in the caucus — placing some members who have served the longest on plum committees. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Nancy Pelosi’s opponents want term limits for House committee chairs. She might be open to it.," 6 Dec. 2018 After 18 years in the House, Culberson, a conservative who had achieved enough seniority to chair the subcommittee that sets NASA's budget, drowned beneath a blue wave. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "A congressman’s loss clouds the future of two demanding missions to Europa," 3 Dec. 2018 The bill also would have done away with seniority as the sole criteria for teacher layoffs. ... Kris Maher, WSJ, "West Virginia Teacher Walkout Kills Bill to Allow Charter Schools in State," 19 Feb. 2019 Some students graduate early to take advantage of the job market and the chance to move up the seniority list quickly because so many older pilots are retiring. David Koenig,, "Surge in airline hiring boosts interest in aspiring pilots," 15 Mar. 2018 The biggest disagreement playing out in these elections will be over seniority. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "All the Democrats running for top spots in the House," 15 Nov. 2018 In Perak state, the second oldest ruling house in Malaysia, three royal families take turns to ascend the throne based on seniority. Eileen Ng, The Seattle Times, "A look at Malaysia’s monarchy before sultans pick next king," 23 Jan. 2019 All full-time employees receive the same benefits package, no matter the seniority or title. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "The Limitless Uses of Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty," 26 Dec. 2018

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

23 May 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

Comments on seniority

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