\ ˈsēn How to pronounce scene (audio) \

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
2a : 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 He has stolen her salad, but she's too well-mannered to make a scene [=act in a disruptive way].— Vincent Canby
5a : 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

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Examples of scene in a Sentence

The play's opening scene takes place in the courtyard. The actor was nervous about his big scene. Police are now at the scene.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Get five of our best stories in your inbox every Saturday, plus a peek behind the scenes into how one came together. Washington Post, "“The Lion King” cast talks reimagining the Disney classic," 10 July 2019 The scene was secured, and officers notified bosses. Peter Nickeas,, "How did an inmate get a loaded gun into Cook County Jail?," 10 July 2019 Despite those odds, the scene at Tuesday’s rally wasn’t one of resignation or even, really, anger. Madeline Mcgee, Anchorage Daily News, "As override deadline looms, anti-veto ralliers say they’ll fight to the end," 10 July 2019 Programmers like the idea of solving thorny problems elegantly, behind the scenes. Neima Jahromi, The New Yorker, "The Fight for the Future of YouTube," 8 July 2019 They were later told by dispatch that the scene was worse than originally thought, and the source of the victim’s breathing problems was a building fire started in the victim’s kitchen, said Lt. Jason McNally. Joe Mario Pedersen,, "Corrections officer’s heroism during fire lands surprise award from Orange County Fire Rescue," 8 July 2019 That's why there's all this shifting going on behind the scenes right now to figure out what to do. NBC News, "Meet the Press - July 7, 2019," 7 July 2019 Walking around behind the scenes was something that was intriguing to him. Lynette Rice,, "Big Brother once gave George Clooney a behind-the-scenes tour," 5 July 2019 Email access for employees has been restored, along with electronic payments this week, but the lack of access to the email archive is an indication of how the effects of the attack will continue to linger behind the scenes. Ian Duncan,, "Baltimore email archive still not accessible after cyber attack. What does that mean for records requests?," 5 July 2019

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.

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First Known Use of scene

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for scene

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scene

The first known use of scene was circa 1520

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More Definitions for scene



English Language Learners Definition of scene

: 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


\ ˈsēn How to pronounce scene (audio) \

Kids Definition of scene

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 Definition of scene

— see primal scene

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More from Merriam-Webster on scene

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scene

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scene

Spanish Central: Translation of scene

Nglish: Translation of scene for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scene for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about scene

Comments on scene

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


characterized by aphorism

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