[ sen-it ]
/ ˈsɛn ɪt /


an assembly or council of citizens having the highest deliberative functions in a government, especially a legislative assembly of a state or nation.
(initial capital letter) the upper house of the legislature of certain countries, as the United States, France, Italy, Canada, Ireland, Republic of South Africa, Australia, and some Latin American countries.
the room or building in which such a group meets.
Roman History. the supreme council of state, the membership and functions of which varied at different periods.
a governing, advisory, or disciplinary body, as in certain universities.

Origin of senate

1175–1225; Middle English senat < Latin senātus council of elders, equivalent to sen(ex) old + -ātus -ate3 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for senate

British Dictionary definitions for senate (1 of 2)


/ (ˈsɛnɪt) /


any legislative or governing body considered to resemble a Senate
the main governing body at some colleges and universities

Word Origin for senate

C13: from Latin senātus council of the elders, from senex an old man

British Dictionary definitions for senate (2 of 2)


/ (ˈsɛnɪt) /

noun (sometimes not capital)

the upper chamber of the legislatures of the US, Canada, Australia, and many other countries
the legislative council of ancient Rome. Originally the council of the kings, the Senate became the highest legislative, judicial, and religious authority in republican Rome
the ruling body of certain free cities in medieval and modern Europe
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

Word Origin and History for senate



c.1200, "legal and administrative body of ancient Rome," from Old French senat or Latin senatus "highest council of the state in ancient Rome," literally "council of elders," from senex (genitive senis) "old man, old" (see senile). Attested from late 14c. in reference to governing bodies of free cities in Europe; of national governing bodies from 1550s; specific sense of upper house of U.S. legislature is recorded from 1775.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper