Definition of scene in US English:



  • 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’
    • ‘A CNN reporter, she is on the scene at the site of the search for the missing girl.’
    • ‘Police officers will issue the leaflet at the scene of an incident to victims of road collisions.’
    • ‘The estate, located on the main Kilkenny road out of the town, was the scene of a crash the week after Christmas.’
    • ‘Rescue workers were on the scene in the Alpine town of Bramberg working to free eight people trapped in the wreckage.’
    • ‘The air ambulance, which was already in the area, was first on the scene and landed on the road after police closed it off.’
    • ‘The equipment will therefore be used at the scene of any major incident, such as road or rail crashes involving many injured people.’
    • ‘Despite the relative isolation of the area, around a dozen neighbours were quickly on the scene after the alarm was raised.’
    • ‘Officers also received a call from a member of the public who spotted the youths fleeing the crime scene.’
    • ‘We'll hear from reporters on the scene in Iraq's capital city and a lot more.’
    • ‘As part of the operation a squad car will patrol Southend centre and west of the town to get to the scene of street robberies within minutes.’
    • ‘Waves of panic seized the crowds in the narrow streets around the scene of the blast, near the central mosque.’
    • ‘The emergency services were quickly on the scene including a special incident unit from the fire brigade.’
    • ‘Earlier this summer city centre nightclubs were the scene of two gangland-style drive-by shootings involving handguns.’
    • ‘Police were quickly on the scene when the day centre's alarm went off at 12.30 pm on Sunday.’
    • ‘A controversial town centre pub, which has been the scene of three shootings, wants to extend its opening hours.’
    • ‘They were the first people on the scene after the incident.’
    • ‘The driver of the bus fled the scene of the accident.’
    • ‘Police were also on the scene to carry out their own investigations about the alleged incident.’
    • ‘The student at the university lives in a street overlooking the scene of the shooting.’
    • ‘The driver of the Sierra was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.’
    location, site, place, position, point, spot
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    1. 1.1 A place, with the people, objects, and events in it, regarded as having a particular character or making a particular impression.
      ‘a scene of carnage’
      • ‘At the bottom, in what was a shopping centre, a scene of horror awaited him.’
      • ‘His wife was seven months pregnant as she watched the horrific scenes unfold on television in London.’
      • ‘In its many scenes of devastation, the script shows intransigence on both sides.’
      • ‘She returned to the family home at 2 am to be greeted by the scenes of devastation.’
      • ‘He described chaotic scenes at airports on the islands.’
      • ‘The officer said the roundabout was a scene of utter confusion.’
      • ‘For some time the region was the scene of struggles between Bulgarians, Romans and Byzantines.’
      • ‘When we arrived on Wednesday afternoon we witnessed scenes of almost indescribable devastation.’
      • ‘The town centre is a scene of devastation, with the city theatre and other buildings burned out.’
      • ‘The scene of carnage was described by one onlooker as " sheer hell".’
      • ‘The village centre is once again the scene of chaos as the roads are being dug up, filled in and tarmaced over.’
      • ‘But none compared with the unforgettable scenes of jubilation witnessed on Saturday evening.’
      • ‘When Pitch scrambled through the opening, he found himself 40 feet above the worst scene of devastation imaginable.’
      • ‘There were wonderful scenes of jubilation in Ballycroy on Sunday night, March 28.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After fully examining the scene of utter chaos, Dizante came over to us and sat down as well.’
      • ‘Set against the American Civil War, this city was the scene of another kind of slavery and subjugation.’
      • ‘Locations chosen had high numbers of speeding-related accidents and were the scenes of tragedy.’
    2. 1.2 A landscape.
      ‘thick snow had turned the scene outside into a picture postcard’
      • ‘In 1952 he settled permanently in Santa Fe in New Mexico and spent the rest of his life painting landscapes and scenes from New Mexico.’
      • ‘She picked the notebook up and flipped through it, finding various pictures of nature scenes and mythical beings and such.’
      • ‘The posters depicted rolling stock, landscapes and other scenes including Blackpool, the Garrick Theatre in Southport and Brixham harbour in south Devon.’
      • ‘Lucy demonstrated great skill in her selection and application of colour to create landscape and water scenes.’
      • ‘He specialises in watercolours - finely-observed landscapes and street scenes in soft, pastel colours.’
      • ‘Appropriate subject matter for art could include pastoral scenes, landscapes, florals or anything else that is calming and appealing.’
      • ‘In recent years he has had three trips to Europe, and now a greater proportion of his paintings features scenes outside New Zealand.’
      • ‘The setting is a suburban scene of single-family houses, wide lawns and lush trees.’
      • ‘Croke Park was the scene of great colour all over with over 82,000 people.’
      • ‘This event will consist of an exhibition of paintings of relevance to the conference, especially landscape and rural scenes, a poetry reading and music.’
      • ‘This photograph depicts the scene outside a house in Cherrygrove, Portlaoise.’
      • ‘It depicts a beach scene outside The Hague with a boat setting off into a stormy sea.’
      • ‘The collection includes landscapes and urban scenes and the paintings are mainly acrylic on stretched box canvas.’
      • ‘Locals will recognise street scenes from Tralee and landscapes from various local beauty spots.’
      • ‘He achieved third place for his landscapes of woodland scenes.’
      • ‘The winter scene of the old farm is in a unique solid white frame as is the family photo.’
      • ‘His murals, landscapes, and scenes of village life capture what it is to be St Lucian.’
      • ‘Fame and prosperity were just around the corner, although both depended on Monet painting landscapes and scenes that would appeal to buyers in the bourgeois market.’
      • ‘The video begins as Hass records the night scene outside her Ramallah home.’
      • ‘Park did not want to be a painter, though today he produces interior scenes and landscapes mostly populated with anthropomorphic animals.’
      view, vista, outlook, panorama, prospect, sight
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    3. 1.3 An incident of a specified nature.
      ‘there had already been some scenes of violence’
      • ‘A young mother is being treated in hospital after becoming a human fireball in a horrifying scene outside her home.’
      • ‘He said he hoped all the cases would send a clear message to prevent similar scenes of violence from ever happening again.’
      • ‘Thus we get images of dollar bills followed by cheering crowds, or scenes of violence matched with screenshots of video games.’
      • ‘Already the voices of protest are growing louder and scenes reminiscent of the poll tax rebellion may not be far away.’
      • ‘And in Dublin, anti-war protestors clashed with gardaí in ugly scenes outside the Dáil last night.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was a vote which lead to shocking scenes of ethnic violence against a tropical, picture-postcard island backdrop.’
      • ‘The warning to teenagers - whose ages range from about 14 - follows scenes of disturbance outside a fast food restaurant in the High Street.’
      • ‘There is to be a Fifa investigation into the scenes of violence that marred the end of the World Cup qualifying playoff game between Turkey and Switzerland.’
      incident, event, episode, happening, moment
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    4. 1.4 A place or representation of an incident.
      ‘scenes of 1930s America’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A nativity scene was set up beneath it.’
    5. 1.5with adjective or noun modifier A specified area of activity or interest.
      ‘the country music scene’
      • ‘One way of bringing in new income is by promoting the company in the wider community outside the arts scene.’
      • ‘If that doesn't say something about the small-fry nature of our theatre scene, I don't know what does.’
      • ‘It has elected Cuban Americans to Congress and has dominated the local political scene in the Miami area.’
      • ‘The people he did business with were seriously linked to the Bay Area party scene in some way.’
      • ‘The party scene is starting to pick up here again, so let's go back a bit and hit on some of our city's happenings.’
      • ‘Having lived in Shanghai for four years, he has noticed changes in the drinking scene.’
      • ‘First-rate duos are a rarity of sorts in today's indie scene.’
      • ‘He built up a career as a planning barrister and maintained an active interest in the political scene.’
      • ‘The package represents the folk scene in all its diversity, from cult figures to uneasy fusion-flavoured outfits.’
      • ‘China's economic and political scenes have been quite good after new leaders took over in Beijing.’
      • ‘He is a real advocate of citizen's political rights though, with no major changes in the political scenes.’
      • ‘We live a pretty low-key life - the party scene does not interest us.’
      • ‘Outside of the fishing scene there has not been much happening around us.’
      • ‘The political scene has changed dramatically, twice in one year.’
      • ‘Drawing in audiences from far outside the folk scene, does she still consider herself a folk artist or just an artist?’
      • ‘Suddenly we are surrounded with reminders of just how interesting the post-punk musical scene was.’
      • ‘A traditional Egyptian art weaves its way onto the fashion scene, driving economic change.’
      • ‘She said that in the future BTU would expand its activities onto the international scene.’
      • ‘The political scene in India has changed beyond recognition since my return.’
      • ‘A jazz musician and film extra who has moved from Southend to South Lakeland has been plugging into the area's music scene.’
      area of interest, field of interest, field, interest, speciality, territory, province, preserve
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    6. 1.6usually in singular A public display of emotion or anger.
      ‘she was loath to make a scene in the office’
      • ‘I would have fallen on my knees and make a scene just to embarrass him, but it would have made me look like a complete idiot.’
      • ‘After our little scene outside this morning, Kai made me go with him back to his house.’
      • ‘It is difficult for women to retaliate in public without creating a scene and inviting stares when something like this happens.’
      • ‘She shook her head gently at Angus, warning him not to make a scene.’
      • ‘‘I saw you,’ he added, betting that she wouldn't attempt to deny it and cause a scene in public.’
      • ‘I knew he didn't like the smoke either, but he didn't want me to make a scene.’
      • ‘His softly spoken admission reminded her of the scene in the hallway outside of his apartment.’
      • ‘The woman was practically spitting, although she was trying her best not to make a scene.’
      • ‘Although I felt a sudden temptation to slap her pretty face, I was too tired to make a scene right now.’
      • ‘Our guide encourages us not to make a scene, but rather to pay the money and forget about it.’
      • ‘The wrong problem at just the right time could cause a public scene and possibly prevent him from getting any acting jobs.’
      • ‘She didn't do anything as she didn't want to make a scene in front of the media, shattering her public image.’
      • ‘I could feel tears welling up in my eyes and I didn't want to make a scene.’
      • ‘They were beginning to make a scene, and Kayleigh saw some uncertain security guards approaching.’
      • ‘I was crying and Peter picked me up and took me out the back door of the club so I wouldn't make a scene.’
      • ‘I had learned a few things, but I really didn't want to make a scene right now.’
      • ‘If you have to complain write to the airline and don't make a scene at the counter…’
      • ‘I only meant that it's awfully late to start an emotional scene - a lover's quarrel.’
      • ‘She hesitated a second, wondering if Drake would yell at her or make a scene in front of the crew.’
      • ‘Kayla yelped in shock and embarrassment at the scene they were displaying to innocent bystanders.’
      fuss, exhibition of oneself, performance, tantrum, outburst, commotion, disturbance, row, upset, contretemps, furore, brouhaha
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  • 2A sequence of continuous action in a play, movie, opera, or book.

    ‘a scene from Brando's first film’
    • ‘The fight sequences and the main scenes have been filmed and only the songs are yet to be shot.’
    • ‘Why doesn't he film nude sex scenes?’
    • ‘I sat aghast as I watched the worst sex scenes ever filmed with some of the ugliest camera-work that I have ever seen.’
    • ‘Next up are nearly 19-minutes of deleted scenes from the film.’
    • ‘Similarly, Loach avoids the use of background music to heighten the emotion of a scene.’
    • ‘In the final scene, the representative tried to ensure future contacts.’
    • ‘The novel's last scene shows this beautifully, and horribly.’
    • ‘They shoot several more scenes in the grandstands outside.’
    • ‘Disc two is a collection of behind-the-scenes footage, out-takes, and deleted scenes from this controversial film.’
    • ‘And at the end of the opera, the death scene is a faithful recreation of the state execution.’
    • ‘There are also storyboarded sequences for several scenes that did not make it into the finished film.’
    • ‘The opening scene depicts Detroit as a city of smoke and industry, car manufacture, and boarded-up buildings.’
    • ‘I signed a contract beforehand, which clearly spelt out the number and nature of scenes I'd have to do.’
    • ‘The film begins with a scene to introduce each couple, then sticks them all together for the middle, ending with three more scenes to conclude each couple's story.’
    • ‘The film, which is a narrative of what happened during the riots, does not have any scenes of violence.’
    • ‘Hackman meant, I believe, that no great dialogue scenes are shot outside.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The opening scene is set in the 1950s.’
    • ‘A short scene of interracial romance between two characters in one of the flashbacks was surprising, too.’
    • ‘How awkward is it for actors to film love scenes?’
    section, segment, part, clip, sequence
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    1. 2.1 A 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’
      • ‘There was only really one fault with this production, the change from scene three to four.’
      subdivision, division, section, segment
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    2. 2.2usually as modifier The pieces of scenery used in a play or opera.
      ‘scene changes’
      • ‘The stage set, with its numerous moving parts, will allow Master of the Sword to be performed without any breaks for scene changes.’
      • ‘Indeed, innovation in scene painting is associated with Sophocles, albeit in a passage of Aristotle which may be interpolated.’
      • ‘He keeps the tension high, though many of the props marking scene changes are superfluous.’
      • ‘The sound effect cue for that scene change is a series of camera clicks, as if many photographers are taking photos.’
      • ‘Greig says Pyrenees is an actor-friendly piece of work, with no constant scene changes, no running on and off.’
      • ‘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.’


  • behind the scenes

    • 1Out of sight of the public at a theater or organization.

      • ‘A Swindon theatre company has given people a peek behind the scenes of its operations during an open day.’
      • ‘The whole set has been rotated to reveal what it looks like from backstage, and we see what really goes on behind the scenes.’
      • ‘Blackmore pulled back his public image but redoubled his work behind the scenes.’
      • ‘As Damian gives me a guided tour behind the scenes at the Theatre Royal, I lose count of the animal parts lying around.’
      • ‘Organisers are working busily away behind the scenes to make sure it is a day to remember.’
      • ‘He will continue to be the main organiser but will work behind the scenes.’
      • ‘Much of his work in stimulating art activities in the borough was carried out modestly and behind the scenes.’
      • ‘Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the theatre foyer?’
      • ‘Two young brothers will soon be making their mark in the theatre both on stage and behind the scenes.’
      • ‘While it was the players who produced the goods on the day, the Mayor did not forget the men behind the scenes.’
      1. 1.1Secretly.
        ‘diplomatic maneuvers going on behind the scenes’
        • ‘He believes the Government has done a lot of work behind the scenes in the past four years to make sure future fuel protests were thwarted.’
        • ‘Downing St is officially neutral, though intensive preparations are being made behind the scenes.’
        • ‘Other things might have happened behind the scenes that the public has the right to know.’
        • ‘Why would they talk to you in such detail about what went on behind the scenes?’
        • ‘Since last summer a fierce political argument has been going on behind the scenes over whether to go for reprocessing or storage.’
        • ‘Yet behind the scenes, the whips' office is making all sorts of threats in a bid to persuade them not to gut the Bill and turn it into an outright ban.’
        • ‘Behind the scenes, representatives from the transport union had been meeting with drivers in Grangemouth.’
        • ‘The dispute then went quiet, but behind the scenes Boeing was lobbying hard.’
        • ‘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.’
        secretly, in secret, privately, in private, behind closed doors, clandestinely, surreptitiously
        secret, private, clandestine, surreptitious
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  • change of scene

    • A move to different surroundings.

      ‘he decided he needed a change of scene’
      • ‘We could both do with a change of scene, a little adventure.’
      • ‘We want some warm weather and a change of scene, but we both love Manchester.’
      • ‘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…?’’
      • ‘A couple of years later came a job offer to run a school in Yiwu, China; always up for a challenge and a change of scene, he accepted.’
      • ‘‘I might come inside for a bit, just for a change of scene,’ I said as we parked across from the entrance.’
      • ‘The nice thing about being in a two-island nation is that you don't need to leave the country in order to enjoy a complete change of scene.’
      • ‘It also offered a change of scene from familiar places that were perhaps haunted by the memory of his wife.’
      • ‘When Rodgers moved to Los Angeles - after training as a hairdresser in Scotland - he was really only looking for a change of scene.’
      • ‘Something about being in Melbourne has made me need a change of scene though - so I'm moving to Auckland this winter.’
      • ‘We went down to Chinatown today for a change of scene and to grab some lunch.’
  • come (or appear or arrive) on the scene

    • Arrive; appear.

      • ‘‘We do ask investment bankers on occasion to review our status and we did it long before Mr. Smith came on the scene,’ he conceded.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A number of local residents had by then come on the scene.’
      • ‘When the president came on the scene in 2000, he made it clear that big business should mind its own business.’
      • ‘Prior to coming on the scene, Paul, Cam, Andrew and Riche performed and recorded together in relative obscurity - perfecting their craft.’
      • ‘Is Barbie responsible for so many girls' obsession with the perfect white wedding, long before the man in question comes on the scene?’
      • ‘Some of Spencer's stuff reminds me eerily of Marc Bolan and early T-Rex, - who didn't come on the scene until a bit later.’
      • ‘Getting a divorce is fraught with complex issues, particularly when second families come on the scene, she writes.’
      • ‘Maytag came to the homemakers' rescue in the early 1900s when the first gas-powered washing machine came on the scene.’
      • ‘There is usually quite a bit of social realigning once children come on the scene.’
  • hit the scene

    • informal Arrive; appear.

      ‘the series has done obscenely well since it first hit the scene’
      • ‘Now, as international agreements hit the scene, the accountability question becomes cloudy.’
      • ‘The artist has had a seminal influence on the development of modern Irish music, since he first hit the scene in Dublin in the 1960s.’
      • ‘Once the paramedics hit the scene, things calmed down a little.’
      • ‘One of the trendiest looks to hit the scene this year is wearing sneakers with a suit.’
      • ‘Go back 100 years, before the safety razor hit the scene, and every man was expected to expose his neck to an edge he had sharpened himself.’
      • ‘I don't know whether it was summer or autumn of 1963 that music really hit the scene.’
      • ‘Formula 1 really hit the scene in 1970's with TV Coverage live on the BBC.’
      • ‘With a new crop of players about to hit the scene, we hopefully have exciting times ahead.’
      • ‘It hit the scene in the early eighties and went on to become the longest running musical on New York's Broadway and London's West End.’
      • ‘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.

      ‘sorry, that witchcraft stuff is not my scene’
      • ‘Oh dear, gardening is not my scene at all!’
      • ‘If rafts are not your scene you can try sailing for a day at Mullaghmore Sailing Club, from 11 am to 1 pm.’
      • ‘I always avoid the spa pool everywhere, it's really not my scene sitting in a brine which has been bathed in by countless other bodies.’
      • ‘I knew the moment I set foot into the club that this was not my scene.’
      • ‘From her unenviable position of bringing up a young daughter alone, she decided that to sit around scrounging off the state was not her scene.’
      • ‘Leaving the theatre after midnight, all the clubs were going off, and I am pretty sure Kelly and I came to the conclusion that Hollywood is definitely not our 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.’
      • ‘Just come with me, we'll party and if it's not your scene than we'll leave.’
      • ‘Friday is Hip Hop night - so don't go if that's not your scene.’
      • ‘Those who have read these pages will know that political parties are not my scene.’
  • set the scene

    • 1Describe a place or situation in which something is about to happen.

      • ‘In an attempt to set the scene, the author describes the IWW on the mainland as being ‘bomb throwers,’ drawing on the Haymarket affair.’
      • ‘Jeremy writes with experience to set the scene for a mountaineering tragedy.’
      • ‘I'll just quickly set the scene for this novel.’
      • ‘First of all, set the scene for us, captain, about why it's so important to clear these waterways that are clogged by massive debris.’
      • ‘Mark, could you just set the scene for us for people who haven't been there, and just explain who's who?’
      • ‘Why don't you tell us exactly where you are, sort of set the scene, and describe the conditions you're dealing with?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ed, set the scene for us and tell us what you've been dealing with every day embedded with the Marines, especially there in the cemetery area.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Wells sets the scene for this chapter by describing the 1920s Oparin / Haldane idea that lightning in the primitive atmosphere could have produced the chemical building blocks of life.’
      1. 1.1Create the conditions for a future event.
        ‘the congressman's speech set the scene for a bitter debate’
        • ‘Now, with Labour weakened and the opposition parties strengthened, the scene is set for some tough political bargaining.’
        • ‘Monthly meetings by a huge committee of up to 40 people throughout the year have set the scene for this, the culmination of all their effort.’
        • ‘The excellent weather and pitch conditions in Colt combined with some excellent play in the first half set the scene for a good second half on the cards.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The organisers went to great lengths to dress up the hall and create a club-like atmosphere, which set the scene for a truly memorable night.’
        • ‘The minister said the budget ‘will be strategic and will set the scene for future economic recovery’.’
        • ‘A quick succession of Eastern and Western dances by energetic youths set the scene for the fashion show, which proceeded with professional panache.’
        • ‘Suffice it to say that our existing ties have set the scene for future collaborations.’
        • ‘‘I thought he set the scene for a great game,’ he said.’
        • ‘The 34-year-old editor's public ridicule of the state's most senior judges has set the scene for an epic courtroom showdown on 22 July.’


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