narrative

noun
nar·​ra·​tive | \ ˈner-ə-tiv How to pronounce narrative (audio) , ˈna-rə-\

Definition of narrative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something that is narrated : story, account He is writing a detailed narrative of his life on the island.
b : a way of presenting or understanding a situation or series of events that reflects and promotes a particular point of view or set of values The rise of the Tea Party and the weakness of the Obama economy have fueled a Republican narrative about Big Government as a threat to liberty …— Michael Grunwald The media narrative around Kelly's appointment had two central ideas … : He would calm and professionalize the White House, and he would provide a more measured leadership style than his boss.— Perry Bacon Jr.
2 : the art or practice of narration … depended not on narrative but on intensity derived from the verity to make the book jump.— Stanley Kauffmann
3 : the representation in art of an event or story also : an example of such a representation the narrative of St. Joan of Arc

narrative

adjective

Definition of narrative (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : having the form of a story or representing a story a narrative poem narrative paintings
2 : of or relating to the process of telling a story the author's narrative style the novel's narrative structure

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Other Words from narrative

Noun

narratively adverb

Examples of narrative in a Sentence

Noun

He is writing a detailed narrative of his life on the island. People have questioned the accuracy of his narrative.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As a mogul used to running a grocery retail and investment empire, however, he was driven to try and control the narrative. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "Why It Makes Perfect Sense That Billionaire Ron Burkle Would Buy The Enquirer," 11 Apr. 2019 The question is whether Republicans fall for this naked effort to revive the collusion-and-obstruction narrative. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "The Mueller ‘Coverup’ Gambit," 4 Apr. 2019 The narrative isn't moving here, but neither were Skylanders' or Mario's stories. Harold Goldberg, chicagotribune.com, "Classic games, lovingly reimagined in 'Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy'," 13 July 2018 The narratives frame famous creative women in relation to their domestic roles, rather than their artistic ones, rewriting their achievements as failures. Katherine Fusco, The Atlantic, "Hereditary and the Monstrousness of Creative Moms," 11 July 2018 To help convey the on-ride narrative, Disney closed off the sides and extended the coaster’s existing three tunnels. Arthur Levine, USA TODAY, "Disneyland's new Pixar Pier: Is it Incredible?," 10 July 2018 For the purposes of simplifying the narrative, director/co-writer Anthony Maras (John Collee shares screenplay credit) narrowed the focus mainly to the events at the Taj. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘Hotel Mumbai’ review: a horrifying tale of 2008 terrorist attack," 26 Mar. 2019 Palm Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday because the passion narrative, a name for the final acts and suffering of Jesus, is recounted on this day. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "When Is Palm Sunday? Here's Everything You Need to Know," 4 Mar. 2019 Cannes Film Festival Arctic has a simple a linear narrative, in which Overgard (Mikkelsen), who’s clearly been stranded for a long time, must overcome catastrophe after catastrophe to reach his goal. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Arctic is a pure distillation of the man vs. nature genre," 1 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

According to Fadel, the monster is merely a narrative device designed to jolt his characters out of their isolated, unexamined lives. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Murder Me, Monster' ('Muere, monstro, muere'): Film Review | Cannes 2018," 13 May 2018 His over-the-top recitation will be the narrative device for the first big post-Trump documentary. Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post, "‘The Snake’: How Trump appropriated a radical black singer’s lyrics for immigration fearmongering," 24 Feb. 2018 Completed in the early 1700s, the piece is a celebrated example of program music, or instrumentals involving a narrative element. Lawrence Elizabeth Knox, Houston Chronicle, "Mercury presents a modern fairy tale of four seasons," 13 June 2018 Hill House’s narrative structure interweaves the past and present. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "How Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House uses color to underscore its horror," 26 Oct. 2018 In addition to executive producing alongside writer-producer Simon Kinberg (of X-Men revival fame), Peele is set to step into Serling's iconic role as The Twilight Zone's spiritual and narrative guide. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Twilight Zone Is Coming Back. Here's Everything We Know About the Jordan Peele Reboot.," 30 Jan. 2019 While these character-building scenes and increased lightheartedness are a step in the right direction, that doesn't mean Discovery has been cured of all its narrative ills. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Season Two Wants You to Forget About Season One," 18 Jan. 2019 Marquee battles are at the narrative heart of both movies. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "'Outlaw King' vs. 'Braveheart': Which Movie Gets Scotland Right?," 13 Nov. 2018 Ingress Prime is being billed as a sleeker, more modern version of the game, but with pretty much all of the same core gameplay and narrative elements intact. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Niantic’s massive Ingress reboot launches today on iOS and Android," 5 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'narrative.' 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 narrative

Noun

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for narrative

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for narrative

The first known use of narrative was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for narrative

narrative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of narrative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : a story that is told or written

narrative

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of narrative (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to the process of telling a story
: having the form of a story

narrative

noun
nar·​ra·​tive | \ ˈner-ə-tiv How to pronounce narrative (audio) \

Kids Definition of narrative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something (as a story) that is told in full detail

narrative

adjective

Kids Definition of narrative (Entry 2 of 2)

: having the form of a story a narrative poem

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