se·​nior·​i·​ty | \sēn-ˈyȯr-ə-tē, -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

The office proletariat says the AFL-CIO is trying to force on them a new contract that would freeze worker pay for three years, reduce sick leave and weaken seniority protections. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Is Big Labor Anti-Worker?," 8 Nov. 2018 The council has four ordinances to look at to potentially replace the current one, in which council members choose the mayor and mayor pro tem from among themselves based on seniority on the council. Hillary Davis,, "Fountain Valley is O.C.'s latest city to consider taking a stand against ‘sanctuary’ laws," 30 Mar. 2018 The lab had about a dozen of those, and the scarcity led to a hierarchy of seniority. Andrada Fiscutean, Ars Technica, "The adventures of lab ED011—“Nobody would be able to duplicate what happened there”," 27 Aug. 2018 In the Senate, 29 members with a staggering 557 years of seniority left office—due to deaths, appointments, retirements and election losses—between the beginning of 2008 and the 2010 midterm elections. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Trump's favorite county," 3 Aug. 2018 Greg Otto, who joined in 1976, ranks second in seniority now, and Marilyn Hinz jumped in two years later. Jim Stingl, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stingl: Investor club marks 50 years by borrowing the south side house of its first meeting," 11 May 2018 So Crawford and Panik have a chance to become No. 1 in seniority. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, "Giants’ Crawford, Panik among longest-tenured partnerships," 5 Apr. 2018 Rather than offering structure or rewarding seniority in service, national parties are too weak to impose any kind of rigor. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "As goes Maine, so goes the nation?," 12 June 2018 The spokeswoman said Roby's seniority in the House better positions her to fight for her constituents. Howard Koplowitz,, "Roy Moore aide Rich Hobson qualifies for Alabama congressional seat, slams Roby," 29 Jan. 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

5 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for seniority

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

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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 \

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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