sce·​nar·​io | \sə-ˈner-ē-ˌō, US also and especially British -ˈnär-\
plural scenarios

Definition of scenario 

1a : an outline or synopsis of a play especially : a plot outline used by actors of the commedia dell'arte

b : the libretto of an opera

3 : a sequence of events especially when imagined especially : an account or synopsis of a possible course of action or events his scenario for a settlement envisages … reunification — Selig Harrison

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for scenario


screenplay, script

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of scenario in a Sentence

A possible scenario would be that we move to the city. The most likely scenario is that he goes back to school in the fall. The best-case scenario would be for us to finish the work by tomorrow. In the worst-case scenario, we would have to start the project all over again.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

This puts them at the forefront of any nightmare scenario that is erupting anywhere in the world. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The C-130J Super Hercules Is Ready for the Worst," 9 Oct. 2018 That’s helpful in medical scenarios, such as preventing organ rejection after a transplant or to treat autoimmune diseases, but not so great for the average dieter. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Not So Fast," 24 Sep. 2018 In the most popular Bigfoot scenarios, the creature in question is larger than a human and typically nonverbal. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "What Is Bigfoot Erotica? So Glad You Asked!," 30 July 2018 Wood, who spent two seasons at UNLV before deciding to turn pro in 2015, went through the nightmare scenario every prospect fears on draft night. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Christian Wood turns heads in Bucks summer-league opener," 6 July 2018 For Democrats already outraged over the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the Mexican border, Kennedy’s impending departure was the nightmare scenario., "For Democrats, justice’s retirement is the cruelest twist," 29 June 2018 New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin sees Disney-Fox-Comcast playing out in multiple scenarios and Disney winning. Bob Fernandez,, "Analyst: 'Comcast should force Disney to pay every penny they can to win'," 29 June 2018 In both human and bird scenarios, parents often encourage their offspring to leave the nest earlier rather than later. National Geographic, "Birds That Leave Nest Too Late Can Endanger Their Families," 25 June 2018 Most of them seem to feel a calm fascination with natural disasters, like a woman who gets astonishingly drunk during a hurricane and imagines that men from her past visit her in increasingly loony scenarios verging on magical realism. Erin Berger, Outside Online, "Lauren Groff's 'Florida' Dives into the Swamp," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scenario.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of scenario

1768, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for scenario

Italian, from Latin scaenarium place for erecting stages, from scaena stage

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about scenario

Dictionary Entries near scenario








Statistics for scenario

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scenario

The first known use of scenario was in 1768

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for scenario



English Language Learners Definition of scenario

: a description of what could possibly happen

: a written description of a play, movie, opera, etc.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on scenario

What made you want to look up scenario? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!