• synonyms


noun, plural Sen·e·cas, (especially collectively) Sen·e·ca for 1.
  1. a member of the largest tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy of North American Indians, formerly inhabiting western New York and being conspicuous in the wars south and west of Lake Erie.
  2. an Iroquoian language of the Seneca, Onondaga, and Cayuga tribes.
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Origin of Seneca1

From the New York Dutch word Sennecaas, etc., orig. applied to the Oneida and, more generally, to all the Upper Iroquois (as opposed to the Mohawk), probably < an unattested Mahican name
Related formsSen·e·can, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for senecan

Historical Examples

  • Gordobuc is severely classical in its unities; it is of the Senecan species.

    The Palace of Pleasure, Volume 1

    William Painter

  • He wrote two tragedies on the Senecan model, Alaham and Mustapha.

  • Senecan tragedy abounded in bloodshed and horrors; the speeches are full of pompous rant, and their metre is most monotonous.

  • The tragedies of Seneca were now being translated, and the play is conceived on Senecan lines.

  • Clearly the only hope of dramatic advance for disciples of the Senecan school lay in improved dialogue.

British Dictionary definitions for senecan


  1. plural -cas or -ca a member of a North American Indian people formerly living south of Lake Ontario; one of the Iroquois peoples
  2. the language of this people, belonging to the Iroquoian family
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Word Origin

C19: from Dutch Sennecaas (plural), probably of Algonquian origin


  1. Lucius Annaeus (əˈniːəs), called the Younger. ?4 bc –65 ad, Roman philosopher, statesman, and dramatist; tutor and adviser to Nero. He was implicated in a plot to murder Nero and committed suicide. His works include Stoical essays on ethical subjects and tragedies that had a considerable influence on Elizabethan drama
  2. his father, Marcus (ˈmɑːkəs) or Lucius Annaeus, called the Elder or the Rhetorician. ?55 bc –?39 ad, Roman writer on oratory and history
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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 senecan


1610s, from Dutch Sennecas, collective name for the Iroquois tribes of what became upper New York, of uncertain origin, perhaps from a Mahican name for the Oneida or their village. Earlier sinnekens, senakees; form probably influenced by the name of the ancient Roman philosopher.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper