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 contract also includes no changes to workers' share of health care costs, a $9,000 ratification bonus for seniority employees and $3,500 for temporary workers. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "UAW Ford workers to close Round 2 of contract negotiations; Fiat Chrysler next," 15 Nov. 2019 The first is that older workers tend to command higher salaries, because of the seniority system. The Economist, "People are working longer for reasons of choice and necessity," 2 Sep. 2019 Creating dynamic teams takes a mix of people with different strengths and seniority levels, not geniuses who are all good at the same thing. Mark Orttung, Quartz at Work, "Why you should hire fewer geniuses," 30 July 2019 The Alabama Department of Corrections today announced a new salary and bonus structure for its correctional officers, including incentives to encourage training and reward job seniority. William Thornton |,, "ADOC unveils new correctional officer salary packages," 9 July 2019 In the Houston area, process technicians working in oil and gas, petrochemical and chemical industries can earn $45,000-$70,000 base pay to start and with overtime and seniority, can earn over $100,000, Pearce said. Cheryl P. Rose, Houston Chronicle, "Process technicians earn strong wages for serious responsibilities," 16 Sep. 2019 Sensenbrenner, 76, was first elected in 1978 and is the second-longest serving current member of the House, trailing only Alaska Republican Don Young in seniority. CBS News, "Veteran Wisconsin GOP Representative Jim Sensenbrenner says he's retiring," 4 Sep. 2019 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

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

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

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Statistics for seniority

Last Updated

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Seniority.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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How to pronounce seniority (audio)

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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very cautious or careful

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