Definition of scene in English:

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Pronunciation: /sēn/


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 flowers at the scene of the crash
More example sentences
  • 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, setting, whereabouts
technical locus
1.1A place, with the people, objects, and events in it, regarded as having a particular character or making a particular impression: a scene of carnage
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
view, vista, outlook, panorama, sight;
landscape, scenery;
picture, tableau, spectacle
1.3An incident of a specified nature: there had already been some scenes of violence
More example sentences
  • 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 place or representation of an incident: scenes of 1930s America
More example sentences
  • 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 modifier] A specified area of activity or interest: the country music scene
More example sentences
  • 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.
arena, stage, sphere, world, milieu, realm, domain;
area of interest, field, field of interest, specialty, province, preserve
informal thing
1.6 [usually in singular] A public display of emotion or anger: she was loath to make a scene in the office
More example sentences
  • 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, upset, furor, brouhaha, row, contretemps
informal song and dance, to-do
2A sequence of continuous action in a play, movie, opera, or book: a scene from Brando’s first film
More example sentences
  • 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.
clip, section, segment, part, 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
More example sentences
  • There was only really one fault with this production, the change from scene three to four.
subdivision, division, section, segment
2.2 [usually as modifier] The pieces of scenery used in a play or opera: scene changes
More example sentences
  • 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 theater or organization.
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.
1.1Secretly: diplomatic maneuvers going on behind the scenes
More example sentences
  • 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?
secretly, in secret, privately, in private, behind closed doors, surreptitiously, off the record
informal on the quiet, on the QT
formal sub rosa

change of scene

another way of saying change of scenery (see scenery).
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.
Example sentences
  • 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 make) the scene

informal way of saying come on the scene.

not one's scene

informal Not something one enjoys or is interested in: sorry, that witchcraft stuff is 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.
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.
6.1Create the conditions for a future event: the congressman’s speech set the scene for a bitter debate
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'.

  • The scenes in behind the scenes, ‘in private’, are the pieces of scenery on a theatre stage. This reflects the origin of scene, which is ultimately from Greek skēnē ‘tent, stage’, source also of scenario (late 19th century), scenery (mid 18th century), and scenic (mid 17th century). The theatrical associations of scene gave us the meaning ‘a public display of emotion or anger’, which is from the middle of the 18th century.

Words that rhyme with scene

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For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: scene

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