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