\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The 29-year-old MIlwaukee woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Woman killed, three people injured in separate Sunday night shootings," 12 Oct. 2020 The driver was the only passenger and was unresponsive at the scene, DPS said. Chloe Jones, The Arizona Republic, "Rollover crash injures 1, briefly closes State Route 179 near Village of Oak Creek," 12 Oct. 2020 Another woman at the scene was also taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to her arm. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, "Woman arrested in weekend homicide in St. Paul," 12 Oct. 2020 Vargas, who was struck by gunfire at least once, was given medical aid but died at the scene. Megan Cassidy,, "Suspect fatally shot by SFPD Saturday ID’d as Fairfield man," 12 Oct. 2020 Wheeler was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. Michelle Hunter | Staff Writer,, "16-year-old boy identified as victim killed in shooting outside Oakwood Center mall," 12 Oct. 2020 Three officers at the scene tried to help Baker, according to the report. Jordan Culver, USA TODAY, "Attorney Ben Crump calls for 'comprehensive investigation' after Florida police rule Nevan Baker's hanging death as suicide," 12 Oct. 2020 The teenager, who was reportedly walking in the roadway, died at the scene. Arkansas Online, "Ashdown teen fatally struck by vehicle in Texas, police say," 12 Oct. 2020 When police arrived at the scene, both were alive but in critical condition. Nisa Khan, Detroit Free Press, "Police: Husband fatally shoots wife, himself at Warren gas station," 12 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about scene

Time Traveler for scene

Time Traveler

The first known use of scene was circa 1520

See more words from the same year

Statistics for scene

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scene.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for scene


How to pronounce scene (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!