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 One compares the protein’s amino acid sequence with all similar sequences in protein databases. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, 15 July 2021 That sequence might partly explain why Ayton declined to speak to reporters afterwards. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, 15 July 2021 During the Monsey grocery sequence, two local women briefly interact with Haart—neither of them seem like prisoners. Jenny Singer, Glamour, 14 July 2021 The action sequence now features another family of chimps ransacking items from the explorers' boats while swatting away a swarm of colorful butterflies. Joey Nolfi,, 13 July 2021 The sequence reminded Smith of Eden Prairie's 2011 championship game victory in triple overtime, when a diving Kyle Rau scored on a rebound of brother Curt's shot from the point. David La Vaque, Star Tribune, 12 July 2021 Much like Ex Machina, the After Yang dance sequence gets off on making a very serious actor do a very ridiculous thing with a robot while still maintaining his serious-actor face. Rachel Handler, Vulture, 9 July 2021 And the more often the brain repeated the sequence, the faster the subject improved. Karen Hopkin, Scientific American, 7 July 2021 As depicted in the film’s most memorable sequence, the birds plummeted from a Manchester rooftop en masse and wreaked havoc below. Keaton Bell, Vogue, 7 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The new study is part of an international effort to find and sequence the polymath's DNA. NBC News, 14 July 2021 The sample was too degraded to yield enough RNA to genetically sequence the virus, which would have offered a third and more definitive layer of confirmation and possibly enabled researchers to compare it with cases in China. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, 12 July 2021 The European Commission followed suit a few weeks later, asking EU member states to sequence at least 5% — but preferably 10% — of positive test results from COVID-19 patients. Quanta Magazine, 28 June 2021 Some experts have suggested nations aim to sequence virus from 5% of cases, but others say such goals are wrongheaded. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, 14 May 2021 Founded in 2012 with a Kickstarter campaign, uBiome offered an at-home test and promised to genetically sequence their gut microbiomes. Alex Knapp, Forbes, 19 Mar. 2021 The majority of people infected by the coronavirus don’t get the chance to measure their immune response, or genetically sequence the virus infecting them, which would be a surefire way to tell whether the pathogen has morphed into something new. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 24 Feb. 2021 Indeed, Miga says that the ultimate dream is to make every genome that scientists attempt to sequence complete from end to end, telomere to telomere. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 11 June 2021 Last year amid the pandemic, San Diego gene-sequencing giant Illumina launched a project to sequence COVID-19 viral genomes from thousands of patient samples per day to map coronavirus variants. Mike Freeman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 June 2021

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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Learn More About sequence

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

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sequence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on sequence

Nglish: Translation of sequence for Spanish Speakers

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


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