AskDefine | Define senate

Dictionary Definition



1 assembly possessing high legislative powers
2 the upper house of the United States Congress [syn: United States Senate, US Senate]

User Contributed Dictionary



From senatus, from senex.


  • /ˈsɛnɪt/|/ˈsɛnət/
  • Rhymes with: -ɛnɪt


  • synod (in some American dialects, )


  1. In some bicameral legislative systems, the upper house or chamber.
  2. A group of experienced, respected, wise individuals serving as decision makers or advisors in a political system or in institutional governance, as in a university, and traditionally of advanced age and male.
    • 1818, Percy Bysshe Shelley,"The Revolt of Islam", canto 11, stanza 13, lines 4338-9,
      Before the Tyrant's throne
      All night his aged Senate sate.

Related terms



  • Webster 1913

Extensive Definition

Alternative meanings

The terms Senate and Senator, however, do not necessarily refer to a second chamber of a legislature:
  • In Finland, until 1919, the Senate was the executive branch and the supreme court.
  • In the German Bundesländer of Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg, the Senates (or Senat in German) are the executive branch, with Senator (Senator) being the holders of ministerial portfolios. Moreover, also in Germany, bodies of usually five judges in higher courts of appeal hearing and deciding cases are called "senates", although the judges are not called "senators". However, in the Land of Bavaria, the Senate was the upper house of parliament until its abolition in 1999.
  • In Scotland, judges of the High Court of Justiciary are called Senators of the College of Justice.
  • In some, mostly federal countries with a unicameral legislature, some of the legislators are elected differently from the others and are called Senators. In federal countries, such Senators represent the territories, while the other members represent the people at large (this device is used to allow a federal representation without having to establish a bicameral legislature); this is the case with St. Kitts and Nevis, Comoros and Micronesia. In other, non-federal countries, the use of the term Senator marks some other difference between such members and the rest of the legislators (such as the method of selection); this is the case with the States of Jersey and Dominica's House of Assembly.
  • The Senate can be the ruling body of a university.

National senates in the world

Defunct senates

Fictional senates

External links

senate in Arabic: مجلس الشيوخ
senate in Belarusian: Сенат
senate in Asturian: Senáu
senate in Catalan: Senat
senate in Czech: Senát
senate in Danish: Senat
senate in German: Senat
senate in Estonian: Senaator
senate in Spanish: Senado
senate in Esperanto: Senato
senate in French: Sénat
senate in Galician: Senado
senate in Croatian: Senat
senate in Indonesian: Senat
senate in Italian: Senato
senate in Hebrew: סנאט
senate in Georgian: სენატი
senate in Kurdish: Senato
senate in Lithuanian: Senatas
senate in Dutch: Senaat (volksvertegenwoordiging)
senate in Japanese: 元老院
senate in Norwegian: Senat
senate in Portuguese: Senado
senate in Romanian: Senat
senate in Simple English: Senate
senate in Slovak: Senát
senate in Serbian: Сенатор
senate in Finnish: Senaatti
senate in Thai: วุฒิสภา
senate in Turkish: Senato
senate in Ukrainian: Сенат
senate in Venetian: Senato
senate in Chinese: 参议院

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