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From Middle English seneschal (recorded in English since 1393), from Old French seneschal, from Medieval Latin siniscalcus(Frankish), from Proto-Germanic *siniz(senior) + *skalkaz(servant); latter term as in marshal. As an officer of the French crown, via French sénéchal.


seneschal (plural seneschals)

  1. A steward, particularly (historical) one in charge of a medieval nobleman's estate.
    • 1884, Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , Chapter 35 the very keenest seneskal can't see no sign...
  2. (historical) An officer of the crown in late medieval and early modern France who served as a kind of governor and chief justice of the royal court in Normandy and Languedoc.


Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

  • (equivalent medieval office in northern France): bailiff


Old French[edit]


seneschal m (oblique plural seneschaus or seneschax or seneschals, nominative singular seneschaus or seneschax or seneschals, nominative plural seneschal)

  1. seneschal
    • circa 1170, Chrétien de Troyes, Érec et Énide:
      "Oïl, mout m'an sovient il bien.
      Seneschaus, savez vos an rien?
      Yes, I remember it well
      Senschal, do you know anything about it?