Definition of scene in English:


Line breaks: scene
Pronunciation: /siːn


  • 1The place where an incident in real life or fiction occurs or occurred: the emergency team were among the first on the scene relatives left floral tributes at the scene of the crash
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    • They were the first people on the scene after the incident.
    • The emergency services were quickly on the scene including a special incident unit from the fire brigade.
    • The equipment will therefore be used at the scene of any major incident, such as road or rail crashes involving many injured people.
    location, site, place, position, point, spot; locale, whereabouts; arena, stage, set
    technical locus
  • 1.1A place or setting regarded as having a particular character or making a particular impression: a scene of carnage
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    • The town centre is a scene of devastation, with the city theatre and other buildings burned out.
    • After fully examining the scene of utter chaos, Dizante came over to us and sat down as well.
    • Several lorries then ploughed into the wreckage as the motorway was turned into a scene of chaos as cars and lorries collided with each other.
  • 1.2A landscape: thick snow had turned the scene outside into a picture postcard
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    • He specialises in watercolours - finely-observed landscapes and street scenes in soft, pastel colours.
    • Locals will recognise street scenes from Tralee and landscapes from various local beauty spots.
    • The posters depicted rolling stock, landscapes and other scenes including Blackpool, the Garrick Theatre in Southport and Brixham harbour in south Devon.
  • 1.3An incident of a specified nature: there had already been some scenes of violence
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    • It was a vote which lead to shocking scenes of ethnic violence against a tropical, picture-postcard island backdrop.
    • He's trying to come to terms with the barbarity of the attack and is concerned that such scenes of violence are becoming more prevalent in cities.
    • Thus we get images of dollar bills followed by cheering crowds, or scenes of violence matched with screenshots of video games.
    incident, event, episode, happening, moment
  • 1.4A representation of an incident, or the incident itself: scenes of 1930s America
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    • A nativity scene was set up beneath it.
    • So this picture records for posterity a scene of village life that has been lost forever.
    • The county is to build a park where the scene of 180 million years ago, when dinosaurs lived freely, will be recreated.
  • 1.5 [with adjective or noun modifier] A specified area of activity or interest: one of the biggest draws on the Irish music scene
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    • The people he did business with were seriously linked to the Bay Area party scene in some way.
    • Suddenly we are surrounded with reminders of just how interesting the post-punk musical scene was.
    • We live a pretty low-key life - the party scene does not interest us.
    area of interest, field of interest, field, interest, speciality, territory, province, preserve; sphere, world, milieu, realm, domain
    informal thing
  • 1.6 (usually the scene) • informal A social environment frequented predominantly by homosexuals: I don’t go out into the scene now
  • 1.7 [usually in singular] A public display of emotion or anger: she was loath to make a scene in the office
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    • She didn't do anything as she didn't want to make a scene in front of the media, shattering her public image.
    • If you have to complain write to the airline and don't make a scene at the counter…
    • Our guide encourages us not to make a scene, but rather to pay the money and forget about it.
    fuss, exhibition of oneself, performance, tantrum, outburst, commotion, disturbance, row, upset, contretemps, furore, brouhaha
    informal song and dance, to-do
    British informal carry-on
  • 2A sequence of continuous action in a play, film, opera, or book: a scene from Tarantino’s latest movie
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    • I sat aghast as I watched the worst sex scenes ever filmed with some of the ugliest camera-work that I have ever seen.
    • The fight sequences and the main scenes have been filmed and only the songs are yet to be shot.
    • The cameraman would film the scene and take the shot back to the laboratory to check it and then he would re-shoot it again.
    section, segment, part, clip, sequence
  • 2.1A subdivision of an act of a play in which the time is continuous and the setting fixed and which does not usually involve a change of characters: beginning at Act One, Scene One
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    • There was only really one fault with this production, the change from scene three to four.
    subdivision, division, section, segment
  • 2.2 [mass noun, usually as modifier] The pieces of scenery used in a play or opera: scene changes
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    • Students learn about the Adler technique, voice and speech, movement, scene study and Shakespeare.
    • Schimmelpfennig's script offers no scene descriptions or stage directions, only dialogue.
    • Indeed, innovation in scene painting is associated with Sophocles, albeit in a passage of Aristotle which may be interpolated.


behind the scenes

Out of sight of the public at a theatre or organization: behind the scenes at London Zoo
More example sentences
  • As Damian gives me a guided tour behind the scenes at the Theatre Royal, I lose count of the animal parts lying around.
  • Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the theatre foyer?
  • He will continue to be the main organiser but will work behind the scenes.
Secretly: diplomatic manoeuvres going on behind the scenes
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  • On the other hand, if there's a secret war going on behind the scenes it could be a number of things.
  • The two cattlemen had extensive private dealings with politicians behind the scenes.
  • Why would they talk to you in such detail about what went on behind the scenes?

change of scene

A move to different surroundings: he decided he needed a change of scene
More example sentences
  • Something about being in Melbourne has made me need a change of scene though - so I'm moving to Auckland this winter.
  • My mother's sorrowful voice comes back to me, ‘Why don't you go outside for a while, why don't you try a change of scene, do some travelling…?’
  • We want some warm weather and a change of scene, but we both love Manchester.

come (or appear or arrive) on the scene

Arrive; appear: the family had gone by the time I came on the scene
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  • Prior to coming on the scene, Paul, Cam, Andrew and Riche performed and recorded together in relative obscurity - perfecting their craft.
  • With the necessity for both parents to work nowadays, many children return home to an empty house having to fend for themselves until an adult comes on the scene.
  • Is Barbie responsible for so many girls' obsession with the perfect white wedding, long before the man in question comes on the scene?

hit (or US make) the scene

informal Arrive; appear.
More example sentences
  • Once the paramedics hit the scene, things calmed down a little.
  • With a new crop of players about to hit the scene, we hopefully have exciting times ahead.
  • Low-fat diets worked like a charm when they first hit the scene, too.

not one's scene

informal Not something one enjoys or is interested in: as for that job you mention, not my scene
More example sentences
  • Oh dear, gardening is not my scene at all!
  • I knew the moment I set foot into the club that this was not my scene.
  • I've never heard them play before because they always play late at night at shady bars, and that is just not my scene.

set the scene

Describe a place or situation in which something is about to happen: he set the scene by describing the general vicinity and its history
More example sentences
  • This is a well-dressed and erudite character who sets the scene for us by describing Grovers Corner and the characters we'll meet, as each enters the action.
  • The book begins with a chapter that sets the scene and describes the paucity of research into what prison officers do and how they feel about their work.
  • In an attempt to set the scene, the author describes the IWW on the mainland as being ‘bomb throwers,’ drawing on the Haymarket affair.
Create the conditions for a future event: she jumped a flawless round and set the scene for a hair-raising jump-off
More example sentences
  • The minister said the budget ‘will be strategic and will set the scene for future economic recovery’.
  • One senior radio industry source said that last week's events set the scene for a bid, but he also said the industry was not expecting anything imminent.
  • Suffice it to say that our existing ties have set the scene for future collaborations.


mid 16th century (denoting a subdivision of a play, or (a piece of) stage scenery): from Latin scena, from Greek skēnē 'tent, stage'.

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