sa·​ga | \ ˈsä-gə How to pronounce saga (audio) 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 also : a dramatic and often complicated story or series of events For many people, the process caps an already lengthy immigration saga— Nora Caplan-Bricker A federal appeals court hears arguments Tuesday in the legal saga of two film producers fighting long prison terms and prosecutions … — Jordan S. Rubin

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 in 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.
Recent Examples on the Web The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard - five volumes of sprawling family saga spanning from the 1930s to 1950s. Riza Cruz, ELLE, 11 May 2022 But that only represents the beginning of the saga, and the less interesting part besides. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 3 May 2022 Recently, her work during the final days of the Odell Beckham Jr. saga was singled out when The Plain Dealer won the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors for Best Sports Enterprise in its division. Dan Labbe, cleveland, 28 Apr. 2022 By the time the November election arrives, the details of the Angel Stadium saga might well be forgotten. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2022 This type of family saga isn’t entirely Tarantino in its Nazi fictitiousness. Josh St. Clair, Men's Health, 22 Apr. 2022 Why history will remember it better than the Academy did: Hogg's artistic success is victory enough, and with superfans like Martin Scorsese (who produced both parts of Hogg's saga), the future looks bright for her. Joshua Rothkopf,, 23 Mar. 2022 While Harsin and his family are still coping with the aftermath of February’s saga, Auburn is set to embark on its second spring under the head coach. Tom Green |, al, 14 Mar. 2022 But by then, the ordeal was lost in the fog of the recount saga. Benjamin Wofford, Wired, 10 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Saga.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for saga


sa·​ga | \ ˈsä-gə How to pronounce saga (audio) \

Kids Definition of saga

1 : a story of heroic deeds
2 : a long and often complicated story


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