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 Afghan officials this week described a sequence of events that dovetailed with the account of the intelligence. Charlie Savageand Mujib Mashal,, "Data on financial transfers bolstered suspicions that Russia offered bounties," 30 June 2020 Altman liked the song — a folksy ballad for acoustic guitar and male quartet — and moved it to the title sequence, over scenes of helicopters. Tim Greiving, Washington Post, "Johnny Mandel, composer who gave ‘M.A.S.H.’ its theme song, dies at 94," 30 June 2020 That sequence encapsulates the film’s chipper spirit perfectly—this is a comedy that knows how to make fun and have fun. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Will Ferrell’s New Comedy Is Goofy Escapism at Its Best," 27 June 2020 Another depicted Sarah Chalke's character in blackface during a fantasy sequence. Tyler Aquilina,, "Scrubs episodes with blackface pulled from streaming at producers' request," 24 June 2020 Within Our Gates was presumed lost until the 1970s, when a single print was found in Spain with Spanish intertitles and a short middle sequence missing. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Skip The Help. Celebrate Juneteenth by watching a few of these 25 films.," 19 June 2020 This week, some of the team is focused on a particular sequence that needs attention. Darryn King, Wired, "The Last of Us Part II and Its Crisis-Strewn Path to Release," 10 June 2020 Scientists and the biotech industry are using gene sequence snippets to make new generations of vaccines that can be produced more rapidly and can potentially be more effective and less expensive than traditional ones. Giovanni Caforio, Fortune, "Bristol Myers Squibb CEO: Why the COVID-19 pandemic has me optimistic about the future of medical research," 9 June 2020 This was a game in which Bishop made 41 saves as the Stars won in overtime and this was another third-period sequence that kept Dallas in the game. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "‘They make my job easy’: Breaking down the brilliance of Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin," 7 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb By processing these samples, Ang and her colleagues managed to sequence the whole genome of 11 individual langurs, and compared them to a genetic database of prior samples as well as to each other. Rachel Nuwer, National Geographic, "New monkey species found hiding in plain sight," 22 June 2020 The evidence that early humans interbred with Neanderthals emerged in 2010 after scientists led by geneticist Svante Pääbo pioneered methods to extract, sequence and analyze ancient DNA from Neanderthal bones and mapped their genome in detail. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Scientists have grown mini brains containing Neanderthal DNA," 18 June 2020 Music supervisor Randy Chung and director Jason Hehir expertly assembled and sequenced the soundtrack to ESPN’s epic and entertaining Michael Jordan/Chicago Bulls docuseries. Matt Wake |, al, "‘The Last Dance’: Top 10 songs from Michael Jordan doc," 26 May 2020 A few years ago, Survivor stopped airing the famous opening credits sequence that kicked off every episode. Dalton Ross,, "Watch the Survivor: Winners at War opening credits you won't see on TV," 12 May 2020 The Indonesian Young Scientists Forum (YSF) has also urged the health ministry to involve Indonesian scientists in sequencing the genomes of SARS-CoV-2 isolates from the country. Dyna Rochmyaningsih, Science | AAAS, "'Open the doors for us.' Indonesian scientists say government snubs offers to help fight coronavirus," 18 Apr. 2020 The number of countries with the virus in the continent increase to 51 as South Sudan announced its first Covid-19 case this week but of all these countries only five have sequenced the genome of the virus. Uwagbale Edward-ekpu, Quartz Africa, "Africa’s scientists have had to pick testing over genome sequencing for a coronavirus vaccine," 13 Apr. 2020 Infectious disease experts only gained the ability to sequence the genetic blueprint of a virus in recent decades. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Genetic sequencing supports Wisconsin stay-at-home order, shows clusters of coronavirus in Madison and Milwaukee," 4 May 2020 The virus's genetic material is made up of 30,000 fundamental genetic building blocks, whereas human DNA has more than 3 billion of these building blocks that would need to be sequenced. Amanda Morris, azcentral, "Are some people more likely to get sick with COVID-19? Genetics may offer clues," 22 Apr. 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

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sequence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 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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