A 19th-century neologism, from sens (“ancient”) + -atne (or perhaps from the adverb sen, q.v.), coined in 1869 by A. Kronvalds, following the pattern of jauns (“new”), jaunatne (“youth”) (originally “recent times”). Kronvalds also used the word senība in the same sense, which he had either heard from a dialect (it is attested as a dialectal term) or then created independently, following the example of Lithuanian senýbė. Only senatne remained in the stardard literary language.
senatne f (5th declension)
- antiquity, ancient times, distant past
tautas senatne ― a people's distant past
senatnes pieminekļi ― ancient monuments (lit. monuments of antiquity)
sirma senatne ― high (lit. gray) antiquity
tālā senatne ― distant antiquity
- (dialectal term) senība