Also found in: Idioms.
Related to sentencer: condemning, impose a penalty


1. A grammatical unit that is syntactically independent and has a subject that is expressed or, as in imperative sentences, understood and a predicate that contains at least one finite verb.
2. The penalty imposed by a law court or other authority upon someone found guilty of a crime or other offense.
3. Archaic A maxim.
4. Obsolete An opinion, especially one given formally after deliberation.
tr.v. sen·tenced, sen·tenc·ing, sen·tenc·es
To impose a sentence on (a criminal defendant found guilty, for example).

[Middle English, opinion, from Old French, from Latin sententia (perhaps dissimilated from *sentientia), from sentiēns, sentient-, present participle of sentīre, to feel; see sent- in Indo-European roots.]

sen′tenc·er n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


someone who sentences or passes sentence
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in periodicals archive ?
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments "require that the sentencer ...
Lord Turnbull said: "More serious offences could be caught in the circumstances you've identified, where an individual pleads to an offence which the sentencer thinks might be appropriately dealt with by a sentence of, say, 15 to 18 months.
(61) The term custody threshold thus appears to refer to a notional stage in the sentencing decision-making process when the sentencer somehow becomes aware that a custodial sentence may be unavoidable.
They're in town with new album The Unheavenly Creatures in tow and ease gently into proceedings with the subtle piano, synth and narration of album opener Prologue, before things kick off proper with anthemic newby The Dark Sentencer.
(128) The court relied on its previous decision in Hart, which noted that Miller does not categorically bar an imposition of LWOP on a juvenile "as long as the sentencer determines it is just and appropriate in light of the defendant's age, maturity, and [] other factors." (129) Still, the court held that Nathan was sentenced in accordance with Miller for his second-degree murder conviction.
(58) She then turned to a second strand of cases in which the Court had required that "sentencing authorities consider the characteristics of a defendant and the details of his offense before sentencing him to death." (59) Because mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles "preclude a sentencer from taking account of an offender's age and the wealth of characteristics and circumstances attendant to it," they "pose[ ] too great a risk of disproportionate punishment," Justice Kagan warned.
We created three designations: Death-Sentenced ("DS"), Sentencer-Spared ("SS") (the sentencer was presented with the option of death but chose a lesser sentence), (25) and Prosecutor-Spared ("PS") (the prosecutor did not pursue a death sentence through the sentencing phase, and thus a lesser sentence was imposed).
He described him as "a stern sentencer" but pointed out that reflected the seriousness of the cases he tried.
"One interest may be accepted by the sentencer as the dominant interest to be best satisfied by the sentence adjudged." Russelburg, supra note 3, at 51.
Some tend to think of mitigation primarily as explanation--an offering of evidence that helps the sentencer understand why the defendant came to do what he did.