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[seen] /sin/
the place where some action or event occurs:
He returned to the scene of the murder.
any view or picture.
an incident or situation in real life.
an embarrassing outbreak or display of anger, strong feeling, or bad manners:
Please don't make a scene in such a public place.
a division of a play or of an act of a play, usually representing what passes between certain of the actors in one place.
a unit of action or a segment of a story in a play, motion picture, or television show.
the place in which the action of a play or part of a play is supposed to occur.
scenery (def 2).
  1. an episode, situation, or the like, as in a narrative.
  2. the setting or locale of a story.
the stage, especially of an ancient Greek or Roman theater.
an area or sphere of activity, current interest, etc.:
the rock music scene; the fashion scene.
behind the scenes, in secret or in private.
make the scene, Slang. to appear in a particular place or engage in a particular activity:
Let's make the scene downtown tonight. She was never one to make the drug scene.
1530-40; < Latin scēna background (of the stage) < Greek skēnḗ booth (where actors dressed)
Related forms
interscene, noun
Can be confused
scene, seen.
1. arena, stage, location; center, focus. 2. See view. 3. episode. 4. demonstration, spectacle, show. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scenes
  • Information about individual shoppers' habits feeds an insidious, behind-the-scenes marketing machine, one new book warns.
  • If the dean has some pals among faculty, then a behind the scenes chat or two may be the way to go.
  • It got me thinking about my reliance on unified scenes in my personal and academic lives.
  • For some minutes there was great rejoicing, and thanksgiving, and wild scenes of ecstasy.
  • Each film features behind-the-scenes conversations with contemporary artists in their studios, homes, and communities.
  • Behind the scenes some of these have been busily seeking exemptions.
  • She heard her describe steadily more alarming scenes-militiamen going from house to house, pulling people out and killing them.
  • Behind the scenes, they have been taking aim at someone else: the accounting standard-setters.
  • The show featured scenes from upcoming movies performed by unknown actors, followed by interviews with their real stars.
  • It prompted riotous scenes in parliament and a media whirl.
British Dictionary definitions for scenes


the place where an action or event, real or imaginary, occurs
the setting for the action of a play, novel, etc
an incident or situation, real or imaginary, esp as described or represented
  1. a subdivision of an act of a play, in which the time is continuous and the setting fixed
  2. a single event, esp a significant one, in a play
(films) a shot or series of shots that constitutes a unit of the action
the backcloths, stage setting, etc, for a play or film set; scenery
the prospect of a place, landscape, etc
a display of emotion, esp an embarrassing one to the onlookers
(informal) the environment for a specific activity: the fashion scene
(informal) interest or chosen occupation: classical music is not my scene
(rare) the stage, esp of a theatre in ancient Greece or Rome
behind the scenes, out of public view; privately
Word Origin
C16: from Latin scēna theatrical stage, from Greek skēnē tent, stage
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
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Word Origin and History for scenes



1530s, "subdivision of an act of a play," also "stage-setting," from Middle French scène (14c.), from Latin scaena, scena "scene, stage of a theater," from Greek skene "wooden stage for actors," also "that which is represented on stage," originally "tent or booth," related to skia "shadow, shade," via notion of "something that gives shade," from PIE root *skai- "to shine, flicker, glimmer" (see shine (v.)).

Meaning "material apparatus of a theatrical stage" is from 1540s. Meaning "place in which the action of a literary work occurs" is attested from 1590s; general (non-literary) sense of "place where anything is done or takes place" is recorded from 1590s. Hence U.S. slang sense of "setting or milieu for a specific group or activity," attested from 1951 in Beat jargon. Meaning "stormy encounter between two or more persons" is attested from 1761. Behind the scenes "having knowledge of affairs not apparent to the public" (1660s) is an image from the theater, "amid actors and stage machinery" (out of sight of the audience). Scene of the crime (1923) first attested in Agatha Christie.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for scenes


  1. The setting or milieu of a specific activity or group; specialized venue: the rock ''scene''/ It is really quite difficult to understand their scene
  2. One's particular preference, activity, etc; bag, thing: I mean that's not my own scene or anything (1960s+ Counterculture)
Related Terms

all-originals scene, bad scene, lay a trip on someone, make a scene, make the scene, mob scene, split the scene

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with scenes
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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