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

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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

Prior to that insane sequence, Josh Reddick had scored the tying run after A's shortshop Marcus Semien tried to throw Reddick out at home on a ball hit by Kemp. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Houston Astros get wild walk-off win against Oakland Athletics," 11 July 2018 Privacy - Terms That opening sequence of the game may have looked familiar to fans watching the end of Thursday's game between Japan and Poland. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "The end of Japan's World Cup game was straight out of 'The Simpsons'," 28 June 2018 Absent from that sequence was the change-up, which has brought Fulmer so much success, but that pitch has been inconsistent all season. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Despite back-to-back home runs, Tigers' Fulmer 'so close to being back'," 20 June 2018 That sequence might rouse sympathy for Serena Joy—as could what happened after the Commander was injured in a terrorist attack weeks ago. Laura Bradley, HWD, "Has Serena Joy Become The Handmaid’s Tale’s Most Poignant Character?," 13 June 2018 Before that sequence, Cobb had held the Angels offense in check, inducing 13 of 17 ground-ball outs. Eduardo A. Encina,, "Orioles lose, 3-2, to Angels in bottom of ninth after scoring twice to tie score in top half," 2 May 2018 Contemporary performers can duplicate that sequence only because multiple scholars and performers have transcribed the improvised prelude. Kerry O'brien, Chicago Reader, "The world catches up to iconoclastic composer Julius Eastman," 21 Feb. 2018 Using skin samples collected from 100 bats in Kenya, along with information stored in an online genetic database, the team compared DNA sequences and began to piece together a Scotophilus family tree. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Two New Yellow-Bellied Bats May Have Been Found in Kenya," 13 July 2018 Such is the power of Cassel’s performance that this sequence surmounts camp. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti' chronicles Gauguin’s desire to see a new way," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Previously, scientists had only been able to sequence 4,000-year-old samples from the region. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Ancient DNA Offers Insight on Origins of Southeast Asia’s Present-Day Population," 11 July 2018 For each species, the project aims to sequence 10 individual organisms to better understand the remaining population’s genetic diversity. Bryn Nelson /, NBC News, "The audacious plan to catalog all life on Earth," 14 June 2018 The National Institutes of Health plans to sequence the genomes of 1,000,000 Americans in the name of personalized medicine. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "This Startup Wants to Be AirBnb for Gene Sequencers," 8 May 2018 In 2001, sequencing one genome would’ve cost $100 million. Kevin Maney, Newsweek, "AI Promises Life-Changing Alzheimer's Drug Breakthrough," 29 Jan. 2018 Cancer researchers can already gauge TMB by sequencing a panel of select genes in biopsied tissue, an approach that recently demonstrated strong predictive power in a large lung cancer trial. Ken Garber, Science | AAAS, "Mutation-counting blood test could predict if cutting-edge immunotherapies can beat a cancer," 27 June 2018 A month and a half later, Rainey ran into his acquaintance Andrea Egizi, a biologist at Rutgers University’s Center for Vector Biology, at a conference, who offered to sequence the ticks’ DNA. Melinda Wenner Moyer, Scientific American, "Tick Discovery Highlights How Few Answers We Have about These Bugs in the U.S.," 26 June 2018 The team took samples of her tumors and sequenced their DNA. NBC News, "Highly personalized treatment saves breast cancer patient," 4 June 2018 Scientists then had to isolate the severed toe's Bd, grow it in a petri dish, and then sequence its DNA. Matthew Fisher, National Geographic, "Ground Zero of Amphibian 'Apocalypse' Finally Found," 10 May 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.

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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

8 Nov 2018

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 \

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

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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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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