See more synonyms for senior on
  1. older or elder (designating the older of two men bearing the same name, as a father whose son is named after him, often written as Sr. or sr. following the name): I'd like to speak with the senior Mr. Hansen, please. I'm privileged to introduce Mr. Edward Andrew Hansen, Sr.Compare junior(def 1).
  2. of earlier appointment or admission, as to an office, status, or rank: a senior partner.
  3. of higher or the highest rank or standing.
  4. (in American schools, colleges, and universities) of or relating to students in their final year or to their class.
  5. (in certain American colleges and universities) of or relating to the final two years of education, during which a student specializes in a certain field of study.
  6. of, for, or pertaining to a senior citizen or senior citizens as a group: senior discounts on local bus fares.
  7. of earlier date; prior to: His appointment is senior to mine by a year.
  8. Finance. having a claim on payments, assets, dividends, or the like prior to other creditors, mortgages, stockholders, etc.
  1. a person who is older than another.
  2. a person of higher rank or standing than another, especially by virtue of longer service.
  3. (in the U.S.) a student in the final year at a high school, preparatory school, college, or university.
  4. a fellow holding senior rank in a college at an English university.
  5. a senior citizen.
  6. (initial capital letter) a member of the Girl Scouts from 14 through 17 years of age.

Origin of senior

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin, equivalent to sen(ex) old, old man + -ior comparative adj. suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for senior

Contemporary Examples of senior

Historical Examples of senior

  • Two or three probationers had been sent to help cleanup, and a senior nurse.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Even Miss Grange, now reduced to second place, remonstrated with her senior.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The senior partner was regarding the rebel with grave-eyed reproach.

    American Notes

    Rudyard Kipling

  • Also Ben Lockwood attended—Blinky's first cousin and senior.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • So unusual a state of affairs was noticed by the senior boy.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

British Dictionary definitions for senior


  1. higher in rank or length of service
  2. older in yearssenior citizens
  3. of or relating to adulthood, maturity, or old agesenior privileges
  4. education
    1. of, relating to, or designating more advanced or older pupils
    2. of or relating to a secondary school
  5. US of, relating to, or designating students in the fourth and final year at college
  1. a senior person
  2. an elderly person
    1. a senior pupil, student, etc
    2. a fellow of senior rank in an English university

Word Origin for senior

C14: from Latin: older, from senex old


  1. mainly US being the older: used to distinguish the father from the son with the same first name or namesCharles Parker, Senior Abbreviation: Sr, Sen
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 senior

late 13c., from Latin senior "older," comparative of senex (genitive senis) "old," from PIE root *sen- "old" (see senile). Original use in English was as an addition to a personal name indicating "the father" when father and son had the same name; meaning "higher in rank, longer in service" first recorded 1510s.

The Latin word yielded titles of respect in many languages, cf. French sire, Spanish señor, Portuguese senhor, Italian signor. Senior citizen first recorded 1938, American English.


mid-14c., "person of authority;" late 14c., "person older than another," from senior (adj.). Sense of "fourth-year student" is from 1741, from earlier general sense of "advanced student" (1610s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper