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[sen-uh-shuh l] /ˈsɛn ə ʃəl/
an officer having full charge of domestic arrangements, ceremonies, the administration of justice, etc., in the household of a medieval prince or dignitary; steward.
Origin of seneschal
1350-1400; Middle English < Middle French < Frankish; compare Medieval Latin seniscalcus senior servant, cognate with Old High German senescalh (sene- old, senior + scalh servant) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for seneschal
Historical Examples
  • "He shall have four silver candlesticks," said the seneschal moodily.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The castle is taken and on fire, the seneschal is slain, and there is nought left for us.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • "It is the seneschal of Toulouse, with his following," said Johnston, shading his eyes with his hand.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • It was from the seneschal of the Palace that I first heard that tragic news.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • It was the face of Mariani, the seneschal of the Castle of Cessna.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • And there was in addition present the seneschal of Pagliano who is present here.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • The office of seneschal in a province such as Dauphiny is helas!

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • "Truly-truly outrageous," sympathized the seneschal; yet he grinned.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • The seneschal shrugged his shoulders, and chewed a second at his beard.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • "Monsieur, these insults—" began the seneschal, summoning dignity to his aid.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for seneschal


a steward of the household of a medieval prince or nobleman who took charge of domestic arrangements, etc
(Brit) a cathedral official
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from Medieval Latin siniscalcus, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German senescalh oldest servant, from sene- old + scalh a servant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for seneschal

late 14c., "steward, majordomo, officer in a royal household in charge of ceremonies and feasts," from Old French seneschal, title of a high administrative court officer, from Frankish Latin siniscalcus, from Proto-Germanic *sini-skalk "senior servant;" first element cognate with Latin senex "old" (see senile); second element from Proto-Germanic *skalkoz "servant" (cf. Gothic skalks, Old High German scalc, Old English scealc "servant;" see second element of marshal).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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