1. Abbr. Sen. An assembly or a council of citizens having the highest deliberative and legislative functions in a government, specifically:
a. Senate The upper house of the US Congress, to which two members are elected from each state by popular vote for a six-year term.
b. often Senate The upper house in the bicameral legislature of many states in the United States.
c. Senate The upper legislative house in Canada, France, and some other countries.
d. The supreme council of state of the ancient Roman Republic and later of the Roman Empire.
2. The building or hall in which such a council or assembly meets.
3. A governing, advisory, or disciplinary body of some colleges and universities composed of faculty members and sometimes student representatives.
[Middle English senat, from Old French, from Latin senātus, from senex, sen-, old, an elder; see sen- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.