anecdote

noun
an·ec·dote | \ ˈa-nik-ˌdōt \
plural anecdotes also anecdota\ˌa-nik-ˈdō-tə \

Definition of anecdote 

: a usually short narrative of an interesting, amusing, or biographical incident

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Synonyms for anecdote

Synonyms

story, tale, yarn

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The Greek Smear Job at the Root of anecdote

The Byzantine official Procopius wrote three historical works in Greek. In the first two, he dealt with wars and public works projects, but the third was something of a departure from this kind of history. Referred to as "Anekdota," from the Greek a- meaning "not," and ekdidonai, meaning "to publish," it contained bitter attacks on the emperor Justinian, his wife, and other notables of contemporary Constantinople. Understandably, it was not published until after its writer's death. English speakers originally used an anglicized version of the book's name for similar secret or unpublished histories or biographies, and by the 17th century, the meaning of anecdote had been broadened to cover any interesting or amusing personal tale.

Examples of anecdote in a Sentence

Like many Jesuits who then ate most of their meals in refectories, McKenzie was a master raconteur with endless anecdotes, stories, and one-liners. —Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, Commonweal, 11 Sept. 2009 If Antony had won, of course, the story would have been very different. Indeed, despite the dominance of the Augustan version of events, a few hostile anecdotes about the young Octavian probably offer a glimpse of what Antony's side was saying. —Mary Beard, New York Review of Books, 12 Feb. 2009 Alexander's use of the family's private papers—the Waughs were prolific writers of letters and diaries as well as books—not only adds richly to the entertainment value of his account but also serves to illuminate just how tangled are the threads of filial love, hurt, awe, and competitiveness that run through their work. Although he ranges freely over two centuries of family anecdotes, amusing and appalling by turn, the dominant figure here is, as it should be, Evelyn. —Evelyn Toynton, Harper's, August 2007 Any competent science reporter knows anecdotes are not data and that one dramatic story proves nothing. Editor & Publisher, 4 Nov. 2002 Deeply convinced of her own unattractiveness, frequently lonely and unimaginably needy, Joplin was a person who lived all over the page. It is impossible to read about her and not crave more anecdotes and personal details of such a wanton, tragic life. —Kim France, New York Times Book Review, 2 May 1999 He told us all sorts of humorous anecdotes about his childhood. told us once again that anecdote about the dog and the bike
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Recent Examples on the Web

Apparently, these two anecdotes, plus some paparazzi photos taken of the singer, were enough evidence for the world to run wild. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "The Beyoncé Pregnancy Fan Theory, Explained," 11 July 2018 Stories have emerged in recent days about real-life encounters with the manager — not jaw-dropping anecdotes, but ones that collectively paint a picture of a man who is decent and generous, regardless of whether the cameras are around. Karla Adam, Washington Post, "Win or lose in the World Cup, England has a national hero in Coach Gareth Southgate," 11 July 2018 The biography is full of humorous anecdotes, observations calculated to keep operatic neophytes interested. Weston Williams, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Verdi' takes a lively approach to uncovering the man behind the art," 4 July 2018 But the scale and scope of Trump’s family separation policy is still being pieced together, largely by anecdotes, from immigration attorneys or migrants who share their stories. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Sen. Chris Murphy condemns “perverse secrecy of child separation”," 29 June 2018 Come for the Barry anecdotes, stay for Hader’s description of Ellen Burstyn doing the awards-show equivalent of walking slowly away from an explosion. Rebecca Keegan, HWD, "Documentaries Just Might Solve Everything," 29 June 2018 Breezy, connected by ceaselessly mind-blowing anecdotes, and bubbling over with psychedelic wisdom, Mother American Night will become the crucial document for understanding the life and work of the internet pioneer and Dead collaborator. Jesse Jarnow, WIRED, "The Ghost of John Perry Barlow Lives in His Posthumous Memoir," 5 June 2018 Tall and expansive, Elgaali speaks in looping anecdotes, his sentences sprouting improbable, writerly metaphors. Jonathan Kauffman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Exile in the Tenderloin: The quest for a future at San Francisco’s only Sudanese cafe," 17 May 2018 Rosen responds to Highsmith remarks Arizona rookie QB Josh Rosen responded to an anecdote/concern from Browns Vice President of Player Personnel Alonzo Highsmith earlier this week. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland.com, "Denzel Ward held from 2nd half of practice with minor injury, Josh Rosen responds to criticism and more," 4 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anecdote.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anecdote

circa 1721, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for anecdote

French, from Greek anekdota unpublished items, from neuter plural of anekdotos unpublished, from a- + ekdidonai to publish, from ex out + didonai to give — more at ex-, date

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Statistics for anecdote

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for anecdote

The first known use of anecdote was circa 1721

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More Definitions for anecdote

anecdote

noun

English Language Learners Definition of anecdote

: a short story about an interesting or funny event or occurrence

anecdote

noun
an·ec·dote | \ ˈa-nik-ˌdōt \

Kids Definition of anecdote

: a short story about something interesting or funny in a person's life

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