Seniority ( French ancienneté , age level ) is the ranking that due to the seniority to a body or a group or on the basis of seniority , in contrast to the results seniority based on the actual age. 
The term anciennity comes from a principle of promotion, according to which officers were entitled to promotions based on their seniority. In this way competition was avoided and the corps spirit strengthened. On the other hand, it was sometimes detrimental to the officers' motivation and willingness to perform. This term is mainly used for messages . If ambassadors need to be placed in an order for any reason, it is customary to do so according to the order in which the credentials were receivedthe ambassador to the host country (so-called local anciennity). The oldest or most senior member of a diplomatic corps is called a doyen .
Swiss Federal Council
The distribution of the seven departments in the Swiss Federal Council is also based on the principle of anciency: The oldest Federal Councilor chooses his department first, then the second oldest, and so on. The remaining department is assigned to the newly elected Federal Council. The order of the Federal Council elections is also determined by the principle of anciency: the oldest Federal Councilor is up for election first, and finally the youngest or the newly elected. 
In student associations , the principle of seniority has been an important criterion for determining the order of greetings, parades, chairmanship and weight within a corporation or at the respective university since the 19th century . For this reason in particular, combined with an upswing in student historical research, there were numerous so-called backdates to older predecessor connections between 1870 and 1930 in order to move up the hierarchy with an older founding date in accordance with the principle of anciency. The criteria for backdating recognized by student historians are e.g. B .:
- Establishing a new association from a previously prohibited association while retaining most of the members
- Recognition of the succession by a living member of the predecessor association
- Recognition of an active connection by a still existing old man's association of the forerunner connection
- Anciennity , in: Klaus Schubert, Martina Klein: Das Politiklexikon. Dietz, Bonn 2016.
- Ulrich Klöti et al. (Ed.): Handbook of Swiss Politics . Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich 2002. p. 163.