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


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

There’s that iconic credits sequence, with the now-middle-aged original cast posing against a stark white background as the unmistakable instrumental theme plays. Judy Berman, Time, "The 90210 Revival Is Weird as Hell—But At Least It's Not Boring," 6 Aug. 2019 Moving from senior year of high school to freshman year of college appears to be the next logical part of that sequence. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, "What Is the Purpose of High School?," 25 July 2019 That entire sequence was just *chef’s kiss*. Especially the morning after shower/puke scene. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Hulu's Veronica Mars revival binge recap for every episode," 19 July 2019 That sequence flows from highest-energy colors to lowest-energy colors. Quanta Magazine, "Galactic Beacons Get Snuffed Out in a Cosmic Eyeblink," 21 Nov. 2018 For Nagy, the play-caller, that sequence unlocked because the Bears stacked first-down gains of 10 yards or more. Rich Campbell,, "5 observations from rewatching the Bears’ Week 2 win over the Broncos, including an offense that’s stuck and a defense that prevented huge chunk plays," 17 Sep. 2019 Coghlin was successful on the first attempt on that sequence, from 42 yards, but it was nullified because the Spartans had 12 men on the field. Chase Michaelson, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football kicker Matt Coghlin, usually 'automatic,' misses 3," 15 Sep. 2019 The Cas12a enzyme can be programmed to recognize a specific DNA sequence. Ewen Callaway, Scientific American, "Gene Editing Transforms Gel into Shape-Shifting Smart Material," 23 Aug. 2019 One study looking at DNA sequences suggested that the loss occurred about 2-3 million years ago. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Heart disease is the price of becoming human, UCSD study finds," 22 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Researchers began studying the biodiversity of Loch Ness in June 2018 by extracting and sequencing remnants of DNA left behind by animals, called environmental or eDNA, from 250 samples of its water from various locations and depths. USA TODAY, "Loch Ness monster might actually just be a giant eel, scientists say," 5 Sep. 2019 To verify that sorting process, Schwoch grew Mimulus plants for 6 months in saltier-than-normal conditions and then sequenced DNA from their tips, taking note of new mutations and how often the mutations appeared in the sequenced material. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Meet the monkeyflower, a weed that may hold the key to zebra stripes and other biological mysteries," 29 Aug. 2019 By sequencing the genome of every living bird, scientists can identify closely related individuals and prevent more inbreeding by putting them on different islands. The Economist, "How eugenics is saving a pudgy parrot," 29 Aug. 2019 The cold, dry environment helped preserve the material, along with its cargo of a few dozen roundworm eggs, well enough for parasitologist Romina Petrigh and her colleagues to sequence DNA from the eggs. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "16,000-year-old puma poop yields a sample of Ice Age parasites," 28 Aug. 2019 In July, researchers finished an eight year project to sequence the reptile’s genome. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Komodo Dragons Have Skin That Looks Like Chain Mail," 17 Sep. 2019 To further probe the timing and origin of the Cuban outbreak, the researchers sequenced Zika virus from nine infected people who returned to Florida and compared their viruses to ones from other countries in the region. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Infected travelers reveal Cuba’s ‘hidden’ Zika outbreak," 22 Aug. 2019 Scientists have also sequenced the genomes of all three elephant species alive today. Doug Johnson, Quartz, "Elephants and whales could give us the cure for cancer—unless we keep killing them," 14 Aug. 2019 Africa's New Frontier Researchers have sequenced the oldest human aDNA so far recovered in Africa. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "State of Science: Ancient DNA Starts Answering Archaeology's Big Questions," 1 Jan. 2019

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

11 Oct 2019

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 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

What made you want to look up sequence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to fake an opponent out of position

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