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 Recently, healthcare has been using hyperautomation, for example, to allocate patient requests to nurses based on the severity of the patient's condition and seniority of the nurse. Mohit Sharma, Forbes, 4 Jan. 2022 From their remote locations, the justices largely adhered to a formulaic order of seniority and individual time limits. Joan Biskupic, CNN, 8 Oct. 2021 Justice Samuel Alito is next in seniority and at oral arguments seemed to consider Roberts' argument about pushing back the viability line. Ariane De Vogue, CNN, 3 Dec. 2021 By expanding to new geographies and seniority levels, tech teams can meet their product development targets faster. Alex Kalinovsky, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 The court has also changed the format of oral arguments, allowing each justice to ask specific questions in order of seniority after a period of traditional free-for-all questioning. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 Nov. 2021 Then, once the attorney's time for argument has ended, each justice has the chance to ask questions in order of seniority, beginning with the chief justice. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 14 Oct. 2021 In the 1950s, the C.I.A. transformed U.S. Air Force pilots into C.I.A. employees during their stints flying U-2 spy planes and then returned them to the Air Force without the loss of seniority or benefits. New York Times, 19 Nov. 2021 Workers with higher skills or more seniority earn more. Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2021

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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Time Traveler for seniority

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near seniority



seniority rule

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Statistics for seniority

Last Updated

25 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Seniority.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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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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