saga

noun
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

The saga began abruptly last week when the Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena, ousted current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and installed a replacement. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Dueling prime ministers and assassination plots: an escalating crisis in Sri Lanka," 1 Nov. 2018 The Novichok saga began in March when Sergei and Yulia Skripal mysteriously fell ill on a park bench in Salisbury. Gregory Katz, chicagotribune.com, "Bottle containing nerve agent found in home of poisoned man in U.K., police say," 13 July 2018 The Novichok saga began in March when Sergei and Yulia Skripal mysteriously fell ill on a park bench in Salisbury. Fox News, "UK police confirm source of Novichok poisoning," 13 July 2018 The saga began early Sunday when a federal judge, Rogério Favreto, who has ties to da Silva’s leftist Workers’ Party, ordered the former president’s release. Ernesto Londoño, BostonGlobe.com, "Judge orders Brazil to release ex-president," 8 July 2018 The saga began in early May 2016, when one of Caputo's longtime colleagues, Kirk Bell, met the government contractor at a Washington, DC-area Kentucky Derby party, according to sources familiar with the exchange and text messages reviewed by CNN. Sara Murray, CNN, "How cocktail party chatter led a Trump ally to claim a 'deep state' conspiracy," 23 May 2018 Jeremy Strong in ‘Succession’ Photo: HBO Succession (HBO) This exuberant saga of a great media mogul and his children is distinguished above all by the pervasive strain of ferocious satire. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "The Best TV of 2018: Departures and Arrivals," 17 Dec. 2018 The saga of the Coso Artifact started innocently enough on Feb. 13, 1961, when three friends who lived in Olancha, Calif., went to a nearby peak to look for interesting mineral specimens. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "Proof of alien visitors? Artifact from an ancient civilization? The truth is out there — in Seattle," 1 Dec. 2018 In fact, the saga of the lost Thai boys mirrors uncannily the situation of the thousands of migrant children being held in unspecified detention centers throughout our country. Rhonda Garelick, The Cut, "The Thai Cave Rescue Cannot Save Us From National Shame," 11 July 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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Learn More about saga

Dictionary Entries near saga

saft

sag

SAG

saga

sagaciate

sagacious

sagacity

Statistics for saga

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for saga

The first known use of saga was in 1709

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More Definitions for saga

saga

noun

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

saga

noun
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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More from Merriam-Webster on saga

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with saga

Spanish Central: Translation of saga

Nglish: Translation of saga for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of saga for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about saga

Comments on saga

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