sa·ga | \ˈsä-gə also ˈsa- \

Definition of saga 

1 : a prose narrative recorded in Iceland in the 12th and 13th centuries of historic or legendary figures and events of the heroic age of Norway and Iceland

2 : a modern heroic narrative resembling the Icelandic saga

3 : a long detailed account a saga of the Old South

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A Brief History of Saga

Saga was originally used to describe Icelandic prose narratives composed in the 12th and 13th centuries. The word first appeared in English in that sense during the 18th century; by the middle of the 19th century we were employing saga is a somewhat looser fashion, in reference to modern stories involving heroic deeds that bore some resemblance to the Icelandic tales of yore. By the 20th century saga had come to be applied to other written works, typically a novel or series of novels, especially those that took place over a significant period of time. Today the word may also be used to describe a long and drawn-out story that is either written or spoken (as in “my neighbor told me the saga of his divorce again”). Saga comes from an Old Norse word of the same spelling. It does not have any connection with the adjective sagacious (“possessing quick intellectual perceptions”), which comes from the Latin sagax (“sagacious”).

Examples of saga in a Sentence

the saga of a shipwrecked crew Her first novel was a family saga set in Iowa. Getting our car back turned into quite a saga.
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Recent Examples on the Web

For more on the whole Bauer-Astros saga, The Chronicle's Chandler Rome breaks down the Tweets that started it all, here. Houston Chronicle, "Twitter has fun with 'Tyler' Bauer as Astros lose to Cleveland," 27 May 2018 Bloomberg Intelligence gaming analyst Brian Egger gave us an update on the Wynn Resorts saga., "Bloomberg Baystate Business: Optimus Ride," 23 May 2018 The series, which will also focus on Mill’s legal saga, is scheduled to be released some time in 2019. Nick Vadala,, "Retire #MeekMill and focus on #JusticeReform, rapper says in 'Dateline' interview," 7 May 2018 It’s also been fully approved by USB-C safety watchdog Benson Leung, for those that’ve kept an eye on the saga of these things. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "The Ars Technica Mother’s Day gift guide," 7 May 2018 After the sluggish and superfluous Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, writer-director George Lucas finds his lightsaber once again for this dramatically cogent and highly satisfying finale to the Star Wars saga. Steve Heisler, Chicago Reader, "Archive Dive / Arts / Film May the fourth be with you, even if the Reader's critics rarely become one with the force," 4 May 2018 The 16-foot-long Destroyer will be among a display of several moments from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh entry in the Star Wars movie saga. Marco Santana,, "Legoland set to debut 350,000-brick Star Wars centerpiece," 1 May 2018 Celebration of Star Wars saga as seen through eyes of Cincinnati artists. Rasputin Todd,, "Things to do this week in Cincinnati: May 1-6," 30 Apr. 2018 All nine episodes of Pretty Wild were shot while Alexis was out on bail, focusing on the unexpected, juicy saga that was Alexis’s efforts to prove her innocence. Jessica Goldstein, The Cut, "I Think About This a Lot: This Bling Ring Member’s Voice-mail Meltdown," 16 Apr. 2018

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

1709, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for saga

Old Norse — more at saw

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Statistics for saga

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for saga

The first known use of saga was in 1709

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More Definitions for saga



English Language Learners Definition of saga

: a long and complicated story with many details

: a long and complicated series of events

: a long story about past heroes from Norway and Iceland


sa·ga | \ˈsä-gə \

Kids Definition of saga

1 : a story of heroic deeds

2 : a long and often complicated story

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Comments on saga

What made you want to look up saga? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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