, "doctrine, authoritative teaching; an authoritative pronouncement," from Old French sentence "judgment, decision; meaning; aphorism, maxim; statement of authority" (12c.) and directly from Latin sententia "thought, way of thinking, opinion; judgment, decision," also "a thought expressed; aphorism, saying," from sentientem , present participle of sentire "be of opinion, feel, perceive" (see sense (n.)). Loss of first -i- in Latin by dissimilation.
From early 14c. as "judgment rendered by God, or by one in authority; a verdict, decision in court;" from late 14c. as "understanding, wisdom; edifying subject matter." From late 14c. as "subject matter or content of a letter, book, speech, etc.," also in reference to a passage in a written work. Sense of "grammatically complete statement" is attested from mid-15c. "Meaning," then "meaning expressed in words." Related: Sentential .
But of course these two "arguments"--that figurative language is necessary to define democracy, and that democracy permits such luxuries as figurative language - are really two faces of a single argument, an argument defining democracy, in part, as that form of government which recognizes the necessity of certain luxuries.
(Source: Bogel, Fredric V. "Understanding Prose." Teaching Prose. Ed. Frederic V. Bogel and Katherine K. Gottschalk. New York: W. W. Norton Company, Inc., 1988. 172. )