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 Contact cadences: a sequence of actions taken with the expectation of advancing and/or closing a deal. Forrester, Forbes, "Why The Tech-Enhanced Sales Rep Will Be Your Differentiator," 9 Apr. 2021 To avoid a third sequence of back-to-back defeats, Utah will have to top the Suns, winners of six straight, on the road. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "'This is a big one': Top two NBA teams set to collide as Utah Jazz take on Phoenix Suns," 6 Apr. 2021 Northern missed the second free throw, but Schoen rebounded to set up the final sequence. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, "Silver Creek wraps up a second Class 3A state title in three years with a wild finish," 4 Apr. 2021 In a captivating sequence with about two minutes remaining, Suggs blocked UCLA big man Cody Riley and then snapped a pinpoint bounce pass the length of the court to a running Timme, who slammed it home. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Greatest NCAA Tournament game ever? The 7 best moments from Gonzaga's buzzer-beating win vs. UCLA," 4 Apr. 2021 Point quickly made it 2-0 on a passing sequence from Ondrej Palat cutting back at the right circle over to Victor Hedman at the left point and back down to Point at the bottom of the right circle for a quick wrist shot over Greiss. Erik Erlendsson, Star Tribune, "Vasilevskiy 12-0 against Detroit, Lightning beat Wings 2-1," 3 Apr. 2021 Point quickly made it 2-0 on a passing sequence from Ondrej Palat cutting back at the right circle over to Victor Hedman at the left point and back down to Point at the bottom of the right circle for a quick wrist shot over Greiss. Erik Erlendsson, ajc, "Vasilevskiy 12-0 against Detroit, Lightning beat Wings 2-1," 3 Apr. 2021 Boris Aronson’s set, which exploded into lace and froufrou for the final sequence, was technically complex; Florence Klotz’s costumes were among the most sumptuous seen on a Broadway stage since Ziegfeld himself. New York Times, "What Makes ‘Follies’ a Classic? 7 Answers and 1 Big Problem.," 31 Mar. 2021 Critics were repulsed by everything but the cutting-edge VFX, which included a sequence in which Bacon’s body disappears layer by layer, an anatomy lesson in horror-film clothing. Joe Reid, Vulture, "The Academy vs. Rotten Tomatoes: Remembering the Lowest-Rated Oscar Nominees," 30 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding at the Federation of American Scientists, however, cautions that the new study did not sequence SARS-CoV-2 in the people with positive PCR tests to make sure their infections were caused by the P.1 variant. Sofia Moutinho, Science | AAAS, "Chinese COVID-19 vaccine maintains protection in variant-plagued Brazil," 9 Apr. 2021 But O’Roak said his team is only now starting to sequence a large number of positive samples from February and March, when the variant may have been more readily circulating in Oregon. oregonlive, "Limited data, vaccine concerns: COVID-19 variants and what they mean for Oregon," 10 Mar. 2021 The paper also offers another cautionary tale about the United States’s subpar effort to sequence coronavirus samples nationwide. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "California coronavirus strain may be more infectious—and lethal," 23 Feb. 2021 It’s no longer feasible to sequence them all, because there are just too many—at least in those two locations, which represent about 50 percent of the tests Helix conducts. Megan Molteni, Wired, "As Coronavirus Variants Spread, the US Struggles to Keep Up," 19 Feb. 2021 To better monitor and respond to new virus mutations, Gagnon predicts the country needs to sequence samples from at least 0.5% to 1% of all cases. Amanda Morris, The Arizona Republic, "Scientists find 'home-grown' variants of the coronavirus, say states need to monitor more," 16 Jan. 2021 The scientist leads researchers whose job is to sequence as many coronavirus strains as possible and assess risks. Chris Smith, BGR, "French coronavirus variant can’t be detected by PCR tests," 16 Mar. 2021 During her first spaceflight on Expedition 48/49 in July 2016, Rubins became the first person to sequence DNA in space and the crew of the expeditions conducted or participated in more than 275 different experiments. Julia Musto, Fox News, "Who is NASA astronaut Kate Rubins?," 5 Mar. 2021 The laboratory is aiming to sequence as many as 2,000 of its positive samples each week by mid-February, charging the city less than $75 for each sample sequenced, company officials said. Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, "New York City Barely Tests for Virus Variants. Can That Change?," 3 Feb. 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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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

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sequence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 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

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Comments on sequence

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