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

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 Her supporters say her seniority and experience is valuable in Washington. Kathleen Ronayne, The Seattle Times, "Feinstein and rival de Leon, both Democrats, set to debate," 16 Oct. 2018 Complaints must be investigated without fear or favor, regardless of the seniority of the person involved. Chris Irvine, Fox News, "Ex Scotland leader resigns from party amid sexual harassment allegations," 30 Aug. 2018 The low-cost carrier based in Las Vegas has been meeting with its pilots union for nearly two years to resolve a dispute over a scheduling system that the union says disregards the seniority and preferences of the airline’s 877 pilots. Hugo Martin,, "Allegiant pilots vote to strike if dispute over scheduling system isn't resolved," 9 July 2018 Experience was equated with seniority and thus employees were promoted based on tenure rather than performance. Greg Ip, WSJ, "How Aging Japan Defied Demographics and Revived Its Economy," 11 Jan. 2019 Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP The Senate rewards seniority and the inside game, and Nelson has gained respect from colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Alex Leary, miamiherald, "'Old reliable' Bill Nelson strives to define himself in U.S. Senate reelection battle | Miami Herald," 18 May 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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Last Updated

28 Feb 2019

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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 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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the range of authority or knowledge

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