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 Antetokounmpo’s five-year extension is worth nearly $230 million, about $70 million more than Adebayo’s extension, due to seniority and having reached the NBA’s super-max criteria. Ira Winderman,, "Antetokounmpo off table for Heat in 2021 free agency despite cap-clearing efforts," 15 Dec. 2020 His arrival ahead of the new crop of senators-elect gives Kelly seniority, which helps determine senators’ status among members. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, The Arizona Republic, "Retired astronaut Mark Kelly set to take oath of office, giving Arizona two Democratic senators," 3 Dec. 2020 But Castro, who was just re-elected to a fifth term, lacked Meeks’ seniority, making his campaign to lead the panel an uphill one. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "San Antonio Rep. Joaquin Castro loses bid to lead House Foreign Affairs Committee," 3 Dec. 2020 Other criticism focused on how the authors defined seniority; scientists were considered junior for the first 7 years after their first paper was published, and senior in the next 7 years, a distinction many researchers called arbitrary. Lindzi Wessel, Science | AAAS, "After scalding critiques of study on gender and mentorship, journal says it is reviewing the work," 20 Nov. 2020 The Georgia Democrat has a slight edge over Costa in tenure on the committee and is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, which strongly backs seniority as a factor in picking committee leaders. Tal Kopan,, "California could get boost in race for top job on House Agriculture Committee," 17 Nov. 2020 But Issa will retain some seniority on committees because of his nine previous terms in Congress. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Darrell Issa to return to Congress after victory in California's 50th Congressional District," 7 Nov. 2020 Gideon, meanwhile, said Collins' seniority didn’t seem to give her much standing in her own party caucus., "Maine Senate election: Republican Susan Collins wins reelection," 4 Nov. 2020 By the time either gets much seniority enabling them to pass more bills, which party is in the majority could have already changed. Kaitlin Lange, The Indianapolis Star, "Here's what’s at stake in Indiana's 5th Congressional District race this election," 21 Oct. 2020

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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Statistics for seniority

Last Updated

26 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Seniority.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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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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