se·​quence | \ ˈsē-kwən(t)s How to pronounce sequence (audio) , -ˌkwen(t)s\

Definition of sequence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a hymn in irregular meter between the gradual and Gospel in masses for special occasions (such as Easter)
2 : a continuous or connected series: such as
a : an extended series of poems united by a single theme a sonnet sequence
b : three or more playing cards usually of the same suit in consecutive order of rank
c : a succession of repetitions of a melodic phrase or harmonic pattern each in a new position
d : a set of elements ordered so that they can be labeled with the positive integers
e : the exact order of bases in a nucleic acid or of amino acids in a protein
f(1) : a succession of related shots or scenes developing a single subject or phase of a film story
(2) : episode
3a : order of succession
b : an arrangement of the tenses of successive verbs in a sentence designed to express a coherent relationship especially between main and subordinate parts
b : a subsequent development
5 : continuity of progression the narrative sequence


sequenced; sequencing

Definition of sequence (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to arrange in a sequence
2 : to determine the sequence of chemical constituents (such as amino-acid residues or nucleic-acid bases) in

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Examples of sequence in a Sentence


He listened to the telephone messages in sequence. a chase sequence in a spy movie I enjoyed the movie's opening sequence.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Heavy Machinery was also involved in the triple threat match, but by far the most exhilarating moment in the match came as the match transitioned into its end sequences. Justin Barrasso,, "Takeaways: Don't Overlook WWE’s Extreme Rules After Loaded Week of Wrestling," 15 July 2019 The film earned several rounds of applause, both for its jaw-dropping action sequences, as well as some of the surprise movie star cameos. Alex Cramer, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Hobbs & Shaw' Premiere: Dwayne Johnson Showcases Samoan Heritage," 15 July 2019 Wait out the aftershocks: Quakes of smaller magnitude nearly always follow the most severe shocks of an earthquake sequence, so be aware in the hours following the initial earthquake. Scottie Andrew And Katherine Dillinger, CNN, "Here's how to stay safe before, during and after an earthquake strikes," 4 July 2019 Orangutans share nearly 97 percent of their DNA sequence with humans. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "One Casualty of the Palm Oil Industry: An Orangutan Mother, Shot 74 Times," 29 June 2019 Some have tried to speed things up by predicting the most likely shape of a protein simply from its sequence of amino acids and probable interactions between atoms. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Mutant genes could supercharge efforts to decipher protein structures," 18 June 2019 At the opposite end of the atmospheric spectrum from their comic sequences is the famous dream ballet, in which Laurey takes a psychological journey, first joyful, then terrifying, that involves both Curly and Jud. Don Aucoin,, "You’re doing fine, ‘Oklahoma!’," 14 June 2019 If a team lost track of the sequence in which the cores came out of the ice the scientists could lose track of climate history and jeopardize their entire experiment. Jon Gertner, WIRED, "The Top Secret Cold War Project That Pulled Climate Science From the Ice," 12 June 2019 But June, trapped in her sequence of shock-rebellion-rinse-repeat, doesn’t feel like a person anymore. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Empty Empowerment of The Handmaid’s Tale," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Neanderthals on the move Evolutionary geneticist Stéphane Peyrégne and his colleagues recently sequenced DNA from two Neanderthals, both just over 120,000 years old. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Neanderthals’ history is as complicated as ours," 3 July 2019 Moehler has a former big-league arm and was sequencing his pitches, actually trying to get the players out. Julian Mcwilliams,, "Michael Chavis is ahead of schedule in his Red Sox career," 27 June 2019 The study started when scientists in China and their colleagues abroad sequenced the genomes of 44 ruminants, including cows, deer, giraffes, pronghorn sheep, and other mammals that have complex stomachs for digesting plants. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Cancer genes help deer antlers grow," 20 June 2019 In a technique called metabarcoding, the DNA is extracted from the soil and either sequenced directly or amplified first to make more copies of it. Quanta Magazine, "Ancient DNA Yields Snapshots of Vanished Ecosystems," 29 May 2019 Last year, the genome of the American cockroach was sequenced for the very first time, revealing why the insect is such a tenacious survivor. Fox News, "Cockroaches are getting 'closer to invincibility,' scientists warn," 4 July 2019 But then last year, some researchers went to the island and sequenced the DNA on the Rampasasa. Eric Spitznagel, Popular Mechanics, "Why Can’t We Shrink Our Kids Yet?," 21 June 2019 Sánchez Pérez and her colleagues have now sequenced the first complete almond genome. Jennifer Leman, Scientific American, "The Bitter Truth: Scientists Sequence the Almond Genome," 13 June 2019 For a period of time, the games have sequenced really well for him. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers look for leadoff hitter Lorenzo Cain to return to being the 'engine' that drives offense," 6 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sequence.' 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 sequence


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1941, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sequence


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin sequentia, from Late Latin, sequel, literally, act of following, from Latin sequent-, sequens, present participle of sequi

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Statistics for sequence

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sequence

The first known use of sequence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sequence



English Language Learners Definition of sequence

: the order in which things happen or should happen
: a group of things that come one after the other
: a part of a movie, television show, etc., that deals with one subject, action, or idea


se·​quence | \ ˈsē-kwəns How to pronounce sequence (audio) \

Kids Definition of sequence

1 : the order in which things are or should be connected, related, or dated Follow the directions in sequence.
2 : a group of things that come one after another a sequence of numbers


se·​quence | \ ˈsē-kwən(t)s, -ˌkwen(t)s How to pronounce sequence (audio) \

Medical Definition of sequence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a continuous or connected series specifically : the exact order of bases in a nucleic acid or of amino acids in a protein
2 : a consequence, result, or subsequent development (as of a disease)


transitive verb
sequenced; sequencing

Medical Definition of sequence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to determine the sequence of chemical constituents (as amino acid residues in a protein or bases in a strand of DNA) in sequenced the DNA of the entire genome of an organism

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Comments on sequence

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

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