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From Middle French sentence, from Latin sententia ‎(way of thinking, opinion, sentiment), from sentiens, present participle of sentīre ‎(to feel, think); see sentient, sentience, sense, scent.


  • IPA(key): /ˈsɛntəns/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: sen‧tence


sentence ‎(plural sentences)

  1. (obsolete) Sense; meaning; significance.
    • Milton
      The discourse itself, voluble enough, and full of sentence.
  2. (obsolete) One's opinion; manner of thinking. [14th-17th c.]
    • Milton
      My sentence is for open war.
  3. (now rare) A pronounced opinion or judgment on a given question. [from 14th c.]
    • Atterbury
      By them [Luther's works] we may pass sentence upon his doctrines.
  4. (dated) The decision or judgement of a jury or court; a verdict. [from 14th c.]
    The court returned a sentence of guilt in the first charge, but innocence in the second.
  5. The judicial order for a punishment to be imposed on a person convicted of a crime. [from 14th c.]
    The judge declared a sentence of death by hanging for the infamous cattle rustler.
  6. A punishment imposed on a person convicted of a crime.
  7. (obsolete) A saying, especially form a great person; a maxim, an apophthegm. [14th-19th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, I.40:
      Men (saith an ancient Greek sentence) are tormented by the opinions they have of things, and not by things themselves.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Broome to this entry?)
  8. (grammar) A grammatically complete series of words consisting of a subject and predicate, even if one or the other is implied, and typically beginning with a capital letter and ending with a full stop. [from 15th c.]
    The children were made to construct sentences consisting of nouns and verbs from the list on the chalkboard.
  9. (logic) A formula with no free variables. [from 20th c.]
  10. (computing theory) Any of the set of strings that can be generated by a given formal grammar. [from 20th c.]



Related terms[edit]


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sentence ‎(third-person singular simple present sentences, present participle sentencing, simple past and past participle sentenced)

  1. To declare a sentence on a convicted person; to doom; to condemn to punishment.
    The judge sentenced the embezzler to ten years in prison, along with a hefty fine.
    • Dryden
      Nature herself is sentenced in your doom.
    • 1900, Charles W. Chesnutt, The House Behind the Cedars, Chapter I,
      The murderer, he recalled, had been tried and sentenced to imprisonment for life, but was pardoned by a merciful governor after serving a year of his sentence.
  2. (obsolete) To decree or announce as a sentence.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  3. (obsolete) To utter sententiously.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Feltham to this entry?)


External links[edit]



sentence f

  1. sentence (formula with no free variables)
  2. sentence (grammar)




sentence f ‎(plural sentences)

  1. sentence
  2. verdict
  3. maxim, saying, adage



sentence f (5th declension)

  1. aphorism
  2. maxim



Middle French[edit]


Latin sententia.


sentence f (plural sentences)

  1. sentence (judgement; verdict)
    • 1532, François Rabelais, Pantagruel:
      [] puis retourna s'asseoir et commença pronuncer la sentence comme s'ensuyt :
      [] then went back and sat down and started to give the verdict as follows:
  2. sentence (grammatically complete series of words)
    • 1552, François Rabelais, Le Tiers Livre:
      tant a cause des amphibologies, equivocques, & obscuritez des motz, que de la briefveté des sentences