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

Noun 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 The end-of-half sequence occurred, and the first touchdown of the third quarter came, and that would have been a death blow for many teams. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "Trailing 35-7, IU football didn't quit, learned something about itself in Ohio State defeat," 22 Nov. 2020 Blake Kern caught a 13-yard play-action shot over the middle to start the sequence. Jason Yates, Arkansas Online, "Late LSU touchdown keeps Golden Boot away from Arkansas," 21 Nov. 2020 Moderna shipped its first batch of vaccines to the NIH for Phase 1 trials on February 24, a record 44 days after the viral sequence was disclosed. Joel M. Zinberg, National Review, "The COVID Vaccines: Bernie’s ‘Crooks’ to the Rescue," 18 Nov. 2020 The company's engineers also found that the barometric pressure sensor used to measure altitude during the parachute deployment sequence needed to be improved. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "It’s launch day for the historic Crew-1 mission to the space station," 15 Nov. 2020 The disastrous sequence against Minnesota may not have been viewed as a warning back then. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football tried to show us how fragile it could be. We overlooked it," 13 Nov. 2020 One sequence provided a snapshot of Friday’s mismatch. Star Tribune, "Gophers football team is badly overmatched by Iowa," 13 Nov. 2020 That is, until the onboard AI system triggers the launch sequence. Katey Clifford, cleveland, "‘The Astronauts’ | How to watch, live stream, TV channel, time," 13 Nov. 2020 The deeply emotional sequence portrays Bleier's return to the exact spot where his group was ambushed. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This Veterans Day, familiarize yourself with the amazing story of Appleton's Rocky Bleier," 11 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The other half was shared by Frederick Sanger and Walter (Wally) Gilbert for their discoveries about how to sequence DNA. Henry T. Greely, STAT, "The two months in 1980 that shaped the future of biotech," 17 Oct. 2020 The researchers say that the next step in understanding Neanderthal evolution is to sequence more archaic human Y chromosomes and study Neanderthals from a wider geographic range. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Human Y Chromosomes Replaced Those of Neanderthals in a Quiet Genetic Takeover," 30 Sep. 2020 Rubins, the first person to sequence DNA in space, plans to work on a cardiovascular experiment and conduct research using the space station's Cold Atom Lab. CBS News, "NASA astronaut to cast her ballot 200 miles above Earth," 26 Sep. 2020 People ask how doctors will decide which patients to sequence. Mark Johnson And Kathleen Gallagher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "One in a billion: Armed with a mysterious answer, Nicholas' doctors and parents weigh a risky treatment," 25 Dec. 2010 Peacock said the current funding will allow researchers to sequence at least 200,000 coronavirus genomes, if necessary, from all over Great Britain. Anchorage Daily News, "Scientists use virus’s genetic code in attempt to control it," 14 Oct. 2020 An initiative called the Global Virome Project aims to find and sequence every currently unknown animal virus that could infect humans. Betsy Mckay, WSJ, "Lessons for the Next Pandemic—Act Very, Very Quickly," 11 Oct. 2020 Wang managed to sequence the virus, later named Hendra virus, and helped develop a vaccine for horses. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "This biologist helped trace SARS to bats. Now, he's working to uncover the origins of COVID-19," 30 Sep. 2020 Rubins, the first person to sequence DNA in space, plans to work on a cardiovascular experiment and conduct research using the space station's Cold Atom Lab. CBS News, "NASA astronaut to cast her ballot 200 miles above Earth," 26 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sequence

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sequence

Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sequence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for sequence


How to pronounce sequence (audio)

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)
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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