[ see-kwuhns ]
See synonyms for sequence on
  1. the following of one thing after another; succession.

  2. order of succession: a list of books in alphabetical sequence.

  1. a continuous or connected series: a sonnet sequence.

  2. something that follows; a subsequent event; result; consequence.

  3. Music. a melodic or harmonic pattern repeated three or more times at different pitches with or without modulation.

  4. Liturgy. a hymn sometimes sung after the gradual and before the gospel; prose.

  5. Movies. a series of related scenes or shots, as those taking place in one locale or at one time, that make up one episode of the film narrative.

  6. Cards. a series of three or more cards following one another in order of value, especially of the same suit.

  7. Genetics. the linear order of monomers in a polymer, as nucleotides in DNA or amino acids in a protein.

  8. Mathematics. a set whose elements have an order similar to that of the positive integers; a map from the positive integers to a given set.

verb (used with object),se·quenced, se·quenc·ing.
  1. to place in a sequence.

  2. Biochemistry. to determine the order of (chemical units in a polymer chain), especially nucleotides in DNA or RNA or amino acids in a protein.

Origin of sequence

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Late Latin sequentia, equivalent to sequ- (stem of sequī “to follow”) + -entia noun suffix; see -ence

synonym study For sequence

1. See series.

word story For sequence

The original meaning of sequence in Middle English was “a hymn sung after the gradual and before the gospel during Mass.” The Middle English noun comes from Old French sequence, whose original sense, dating from the second half of the 12th century, was the same as in Middle English. Old French sequence comes from Medieval Latin sequentia, with the same original meaning.
Sequentia is a feminine noun formed from sequēns (inflectional stem sequent- ), the present participle of the verb sequī “to follow,” and the noun suffix -ia . A sequentia was so called because it followed the Alleluia (a liturgical chant in which the word Alleluia (Hallelujah) is combined with scriptural verses, usually from the Psalms).
The usual, typical sense of sequence, “the succession of one thing after another,” first appears in 1575.

Other words for sequence

Other words from sequence

  • un·der·se·quence, noun
  • un·se·quenced, adjective

Words Nearby sequence Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sequence in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sequence


/ (ˈsiːkwəns) /

  1. an arrangement of two or more things in a successive order

  2. the successive order of two or more things: chronological sequence

  1. a sequentially ordered set of related things or ideas

  2. an action or event that follows another or others

    • cards a set of three or more consecutive cards, usually of the same suit

    • bridge a set of two or more consecutive cards

  3. music an arrangement of notes or chords repeated several times at different pitches

  4. maths

    • an ordered set of numbers or other mathematical entities in one-to-one correspondence with the integers 1 to n

    • an ordered infinite set of mathematical entities in one-to-one correspondence with the natural numbers

  5. a section of a film constituting a single continuous uninterrupted episode

  6. biochem the unique order of amino acids in the polypeptide chain of a protein or of nucleotides in the polynucleotide chain of DNA or RNA

  7. RC Church another word for prose (def. 4)

  1. to arrange in a sequence

  2. biochem to determine the order of the units comprising (a protein, nucleic acid, genome, etc)

Origin of sequence

C14: from Medieval Latin sequentia that which follows, from Latin sequī to follow

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for sequence


[ kwəns ]

  1. A set of quantities ordered in the same manner as the positive integers, in which there is always the same relation between each quantity and the one succeeding it. A sequence can be finite, such as {1, 3, 5, 7, 9}, or it can be infinite, such as {1, 12, 13, 14, … 1n}. Also called progression

  2. The order of subunits that make up a polymer, especially the order of nucleotides in a nucleic acid or of the amino acids in a protein.

  1. To determine the order of subunits of a polymer.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.