noun \ ˈsēn \
Updated on: 13 Jan 2018

Definition of scene

1 : one of the subdivisions of a play: such as
a : a division of an act presenting continuous action in one place
b : a single situation or unit of dialogue in a play
  • the love scene
c : a motion-picture or television episode or sequence
2 a : a stage setting
b : a real or imaginary prospect suggesting a stage setting
  • a sylvan scene
3 : the place of an occurrence or action : locale
  • scene of the crime
4 : an exhibition of anger or indecorous behavior
  • make a scene
5 a : sphere of activity
  • the drug scene
b : situation
  • a bad scene
behind the scenes
1 : out of public view; also : in secret
2 : in a position to see the hidden workings
  • taken behind the scenes and told just how in fact the actual government … has operated
  • —William Clark

Examples of scene in a Sentence

  1. The play's opening scene takes place in the courtyard.

  2. The actor was nervous about his big scene.

  3. Police are now at the scene.

Recent Examples of scene from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of scene

Middle French, stage, from Latin scena, scaena stage, scene, probably from Etruscan, from Greek skēnē shelter, tent, building forming the background for a dramatic performance, stage; perhaps akin to Greek skia shadow — more at shine

scene Synonyms

Other Performing Arts Terms

SCENE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of scene for English Language Learners

  • : a division of an act in a play during which the action takes place in a single place without a break in time

  • : a part of a play, movie, story, etc., in which a particular action or activity occurs

  • : a view or sight that looks like a picture

SCENE Defined for Kids


noun \ ˈsēn \

Definition of scene for Students

1 : a division of an act in a play
2 : a single interesting or important happening in a play or story
  • a fight scene
3 : the place of an event or action
  • the scene of a crime
4 : a view or sight that resembles a picture
  • a winter scene
5 : a display of anger or bad behavior

Medical Dictionary


medical Definition of scene

— see primal scene

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


to cause to suffer severely from hunger

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Winter Words Quiz

  • fox-in-front-of-cabin-in-winter
  • Another word for ‘a person who travels to an area of warmth and sun, especially in winter’ is a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!