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 These questions, akin to the intrusive inquiries of the opening sequence, require a ruthless honesty, an honesty Beckwith avoids in lieu of less- complicated pastures. Robert Daniels, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Ed Helms and Patti Harrison make a perfect platonic match in ‘Together Together’," 22 Apr. 2021 Moderna was able to produce its first version of its vaccine just 42 days after the release of the SARS-CoV-2 genome’s sequence. Fortune, "How mRNA vaccines like Moderna’s and Pfizer’s are propelling us into the ‘new golden age’ of vaccinology," 16 Apr. 2021 In planning that kind of sequence out, what is the ratio of using sophisticated animatics versus hot wheels cars? Adam B. Vary,, "‘F9: The Fast Saga’ trailer: Director Justin Lin on Paul Walker, wild stunts and ‘the Final Chapter’ of the franchise," 14 Apr. 2021 This raises the threat of sequence of return risk, particularly for high-net-worth individuals who have a significant portion of their wealth invested in the stock market. Steve Parrish, Forbes, "2021 Retirement Drawdown Strategies For High-Net-Worth Retirees," 12 Apr. 2021 It’s the sort of sequence that, a mere year into the 2020s, stakes its claim as the scariest horror moment of the decade. Tres Dean, Vulture, "The Empty Man Is the Next Great Cult Horror Film," 6 Apr. 2021 The Wings got a power play out of that sequence, too, when Keith Yandle was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, and again did much better executing. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings' skid hits six with 3-2 loss to Florida Panthers," 1 Feb. 2021 That was a critical sequence to send the game into overtime. Star Tribune, "Good things happen when the ball is in Jalen Suggs' hands," 4 Apr. 2021 The staff gathers in the electronics section to watch Glenn’s secretly recorded footage of everyone’s job interviews, which was a bucket-list sequence for the show’s writers. Ashley Lee Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "How those emotional last minutes of the ‘Superstore’ series finale came to be," 25 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To better track variants, Dr. Landers said the state is ramping up its ability to sequence virus strains. al, "First cases of South African COVID variant being tracked in Alabama," 24 Apr. 2021 The new funding will be used to collect coronavirus specimens, sequence the genetic makeup of viruses and share the data. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Steven van Zandt, casino shots, dance fever: News from around our 50 states," 22 Apr. 2021 Public laboratories in the United Kingdom, considered a model for tracking the virus, sequence a third of positive coronavirus tests, according to the COVID-19 Genomic UK Consortium. David Heath, USA Today, "In the race to stay ahead of COVID-19 variants, the US lags globally," 7 Apr. 2021 Last March, during the first wave of the pandemic, Adriana Heguy set out to sequence coronavirus genomes. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, "What the Coronavirus Variants Mean for the End of the Pandemic," 7 Mar. 2021 Researchers worked quickly to sequence the virus and learn more about it. Shraddha Chakradhar, STAT, "Charting the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, through STAT headlines," 24 Dec. 2020 During the pandemic, Ana Lucía Arévalo, a 23-year-old Guatemalan biologist, had to stop her thesis into bats, but that hasn't stopped her from helping a global effort to sequence the genomes of every bat species on Earth. Andrew Wight, Forbes, "This Guatemalan Woman In STEM Is Unlocking The Secrets Of Bats," 19 Apr. 2021 The problem, however, is that vaccinated people are unlikely to shed enough virus to sequence; this means that breakthrough infections may be passing under the radar. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "The Mystery of Breakthrough COVID-19 Infections," 10 Apr. 2021 Even as the capacity to sequence picks up, the process remains challenging, Happi says. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Variant Hunters Race to Find New Strains Where Testing Lags," 9 Apr. 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

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sequence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 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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