noun sa·ga \ˈsä-gə also ˈsa-\

Definition of saga

  1. 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. 2 :  a modern heroic narrative resembling the Icelandic saga

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

Examples of saga in a sentence

  1. the saga of a shipwrecked crew

  2. Her first novel was a family saga set in Iowa.

  3. Getting our car back turned into quite a saga.

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”).

Origin and Etymology of saga

Old Norse — more at saw

First Known Use: 1709

SAGA Defined for English Language Learners


noun sa·ga \ˈsä-gə also ˈsa-\

Definition of saga for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids


noun sa·ga \ˈsä-gə\

Definition of saga for Students

  1. 1 :  a story of heroic deeds

  2. 2 :  a long and often complicated story

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