se·quence | \ ˈsē-kwən(t)s , -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

4a : consequence, result

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

My dad had trouble remembering a sequence of words and counting backward from 100 in sevens. Robin Abcarian,, "Proving to the DMV that you can drive when you are 89 years old is not for the faint of heart," 3 July 2018 Luckily, shooting the title sequence goes extremely well. Kathryn Lindsay,, "R29 Binge Club: Glow Season 2, Episodes 1-10," 29 June 2018 During the training process, the network was shown a sequence of different randomly generated pieces, with several images of each piece. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Google researchers created an amazing scene-rendering AI," 29 June 2018 There are already signs of disagreement between the two sides of the pace and sequence of North Korea’s disarmament and sanctions relief. David Tweed,, "Kim Jong Un Heads to China Following Summit With Trump," 19 June 2018 New Journalism showed its flaws early on, as some writers took ethical leaps—changing location and time sequences, creating composite characters and using direct quotations based on memory. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "Tom Wolfe and the Legacy of New Journalism," 15 May 2018 The Stargate sequence goes to visual places not previously seen outside of the human skull, if there; and the concluding shot, of the Starchild, is one of the great visionary images of the 20th century. Mark Feeney,, "‘2001’ is a space odyssey, but 2018 is a Kubrick moment," 10 May 2018 Let slide the weary art-historical narratives that lock Soutine into categories of style and sequences of influence. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Vulnerable Ferocity of Chaim Soutine," 7 May 2018 The sequence of Trump’s analysis in this passage goes Washington Post-Amazon-Washington Post-Amazon-Washington Post-Amazon-Washington Post-Amazon. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Is ‘Obsessed’ With Amazon Because He Wants to Crush the Washington Post," 28 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

University of Florida researchers have been sequencing the virus since August 2016. Caroline Judelson, Fox News, "First case of mosquito-borne Keystone virus found in humans," 21 June 2018 The redo was worth it: This time, the team was able to sequence the panda’s complete mitochondrial genome. National Geographic, "Long-Lost Panda Relative Revealed by 22,000-Year-Old Fossil," 18 June 2018 HudsonAlpha is led by Dr. Rick Myers, a scientist who was part of the Human Genome Project, the original effort to sequence the entire human genome that began in 1990 and succeeded in 2003. Lee Roop,, "HudsonAlpha institute celebrates decade on genetic frontier," 27 Apr. 2018 Building a brain To investigate, Muotri and his colleagues compared the genome of Neanderthals (previously extracted from fossil bones and sequenced by other researchers) with that of modern humans. Laura Geggel /, NBC News, "Why tiny Neanderthal brains are now growing in petri dishes," 27 June 2018 Researchers at South China Normal University in Guangzhou sequenced the genome of the hardy insect and published their findings in Nature Communications last week. Grace Donnelly, Fortune, "Why We Can Learn a Lot From the Cockroach Genome About How to Adapt to Any Environment," 27 Mar. 2018 Salzberg’s team used data from the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project, which sequenced RNA from more than 30 different tissues taken from several hundred cadavers. Cassandra Willyard, Scientific American, "New Human Gene Tally Reignites Debate," 19 June 2018 The ultimate hope is that a larger slice of the population will get their genes sequenced, too, whether to assist in drug research or alert them to possible health risks. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Should Everyone Get Their DNA Sequenced?," 20 Mar. 2018 Researchers have also recently found a new antibiotic by sequencing the DNA of over 2,000 microbes living in dirt. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "New “Immunobiotic” Could Treat Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs," 6 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sequence

Dictionary Entries near sequence








Phrases Related to sequence

out of sequence

Statistics for sequence

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sequence

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!