Sentinel Definition and Meaning

The Italian term sentinella came to our language as a sentinel. The first meaning mentioned in the dictionary of the DigoPaul refers to a surveillance or control service.

By extension, the person who is dedicated to carrying out these types of observation, prevention and care tasks is known as a sentinel. Generally, the concept is reserved for the members of a security force who occupy a certain position to carry out this activity. Otherwise, notions like guard or watchman are used.

For example: “A sentry detected strange movements on the border and notified his superiors: thus the authorities managed to thwart the smuggling”, “The army base on the island is guarded by a dozen sentries for twenty-four hours”, ” In the escape, the prisoners killed a sentry ”.

In the military field, therefore, a sentry is someone who is stationed in a place from where he can observe the panorama and thus protect certain facilities or individuals. Thanks to its location, the sentry can warn if there is someone in the vicinity.

In colloquial language, a sentinel is said to someone who guards something or who works for its conservation: “This environmental group is the sentinel for cleaning the beach”, “For years I was the sentinel of this library”, “The academy is the sentinel of our language ”.

Lastly, Centinela is a word that appears in the name of a hill in the province of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and another in Mexicali (Mexico) and of various towns in different countries.

We have to establish that the mentioned Cerro del Centinela is located in the Progreso Delegation, in the municipality of Mexicali, and that it is also called “Weeishpa”. It has a height of about 781 meters and has the peculiarity that, throughout history, it has always been used to guide you through the desert. It is so important that it not only appears on the Imperial County shield but also on the Mexicali shield.

Within the field of medicine, the term that we are now dealing with is also used. Specifically, we speak, for example, of sentinel nodes that take center stage when a tumor appears. They are exactly the first of the lymphatic type to which a tumor drains.

When a biopsy is performed, those nodes are the ones that become the focus of action. And is that this surgical procedure on them is a way to know if the cancer has spread out and into the lymphatic system. In this way, the medical team that performs this operation will analyze the sentinel nodes and if they discover that there is no cancer in them, what will be known is that the cancer has probably not spread.

Specifically, this type of biopsy is common in cases of breast cancer and also when there are melanomas.

Within the literature, the term in question has been used on many occasions. A good example of this is the novel “Sentinels of the ice”, written by Silvia Martínez-Markus.


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