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 Both are low-impact, moderate-intensity aerobic exercises that contain a flowing sequence of movements coupled with changes in mental focus, breathing, coordination and relaxation. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "5 natural ways to boost your mental health during stressful times," 2 June 2020 On Sunday morning, Kruse tweeted a numbered sequence of the events that unfolded at the scene to provide clarification as to what happened. Fox News, "Seattle security guard helps disarm George Floyd rioters with AR-15s stolen from smashed police cruiser," 1 June 2020 Only the in-between was different, made up of a different sequence of concessions, the particulars of each person. Emma Cline, The New Yorker, "White Noise," 1 June 2020 After that visit, Russian space officials raised concerns that a possible sequence of malfunctions could put the spacecraft on a collision course with the station. New York Times, "SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Docks at International Space Station," 31 May 2020 With one positive case, a specific sequence of six pools should come up positive. Marla Broadfoot, Scientific American, "Coronavirus Test Shortages Trigger a New Strategy: Group Screening," 13 May 2020 For former Bank of Japan board member Kiuchi, the main scenario is for no Games in 2020 and a year-long sequence of quarterly contractions through September. Yoshiaki Nohara,, "Japan Could Face Year-Long Slump If ‘Cursed’ Olympics Canceled," 10 May 2020 Just as crocuses bloom before daffodils and daffodils appear before tulips in our home gardens, forest wildflowers have a sequence of their own. John Gurda, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A balm for coronavirus anxiety: Milwaukee's wild places, where the rhythms of nature are steady as ever," 30 Apr. 2020 In another portion of the system, the numbers were converted back into a sequence of words. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Training AI To Transform Brain Activity Into Text," 2 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 But it's taken this long for the technology used to sequence the subtypes to improve. Erika Edwards, NBC News, "What to know about the 'new' HIV strain," 7 Nov. 2019 Targeting a virus with such precision is a 21st-century invention, the result of computers becoming powerful enough to quickly and cheaply sequence the genetic codes of pathogens. Andrew Zaleski, Popular Mechanics, "So When Will a COVID-19 Vaccine Be Available?," 29 Apr. 2020 In 2009, doctors and researchers at Children's Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin became the first in the world to sequence all of a person's genes and use the information to pinpoint a new disease. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Reading genetic sequence saved Wisconsin boy in 2009; now it may help scientists stop coronavirus," 30 Mar. 2020 These puzzles allow players to sequence proteins that could potentially bind to a certain protein in the coronavirus, a solution that could lead to better treatment. Julie Muncy, Wired, "Google Is Opening a New Studio to Make Stadia Games," 6 Mar. 2020 The first human genome cost $3 billion to sequence. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "“Unlike with IT, India riding the new biosciences wave shouldn’t be an accident”," 18 Feb. 2020 Ebola spread through West Africa for several months before any researcher managed to sequence its genes. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "The New Coronavirus Is a Truly Modern Epidemic," 3 Feb. 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

6 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sequence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 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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