Pronunciation: (sen'tns), [key]
—n., v., -tenced, -tenc•ing.
1. Gram.a grammatical unit of one or more words, bearing minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it, often preceded and followed in speech by pauses, having one of a small number of characteristic intonation patterns, and typically expressing an independent statement, question, request, command, etc., as Summer is here. or Who is it? or Stop!
a. an authoritative decision; a judicial judgment or decree, esp. the judicial determination of the punishment to be inflicted on a convicted criminal.
b. the punishment itself.
3. Music.a period.
4. Archaic.a saying, apothegm, or maxim.
5. Obs.an opinion given on a particular question.
to pronounce sentence upon; condemn to punishment.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.