sce·​nar·​io | \ sə-ˈner-ē-ˌō How to pronounce scenario (audio) , 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


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 Contact tracing is important because prevention is the ideal scenario in managing COVID-19. Whizy Kim,, "What Is A Contact Tracer & How Can You Become One?," 6 May 2020 Under the more severe scenario, the loss would total $100.4 million. Randy Diamond,, "CPS Energy projects potentially big losses this year," 28 Apr. 2020 This is the worst-case scenario for these kinds of clunks where the only real fix involves a trip to the frame shop where new metal can be welded on. Stef Schrader, Popular Mechanics, "How To Fix Those Annoying Suspension Clunks and Rattles," 25 Apr. 2020 Under one recessionary scenario, the state could lose $50 billion in revenue over two years, out of an annual budget of $222 billion. Jill Tucker,, "Newsom waives gym class requirements and budget deadlines during coronavirus school closures," 24 Apr. 2020 This is a more hopeful scenario, as an economic crisis will be (and already is) most severe among the poor neighbourhoods. Benjamin Daniels, Quartz India, "How India can move from a general to a graded coronavirus lockdown," 20 Apr. 2020 Under a scenario in which Europe fails to contain the virus within three months and is forced to continue social distancing measures through the summer, the EU unemployment rate will peak at 11.2% in 2021, with a full recovery unlikely until 2024. Charles Riley, CNN, "60 million Europeans could suffer furloughs, layoffs or wage cuts," 19 Apr. 2020 That is a scenario specifically that a few public-health experts basically threw their hands up at me about. The Atlantic, "Listen: What Will the Summer Be Like?," 17 Apr. 2020 Unlike talk in the Trump administration of possibly reopening the country as early as May, military leaders are suggesting that this summer may be the best-case scenario of tiptoeing toward a return to normal activities. Robert Burns, The Christian Science Monitor, "No quick exit: US military plans for 'new normal' in COVID era," 15 Apr. 2020

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

Time Traveler for scenario

Time Traveler

The first known use of scenario was in 1768

See more words from the same year

Statistics for scenario

Last Updated

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scenario.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for scenario


How to pronounce scenario (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scenario

: a description of what could possibly happen
formal : 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!