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 way that Napoli have handled the Maurizio Sarri/Chelsea saga has been ridiculous, rather underhand and ultimately quite genius., "Chelsea Reportedly Sack Antonio Conte Ahead of Maurizio Sarri's Appointment at Stamford Bridge," 12 July 2018 But the rescue saga is not quite over yet; a doctor and three Thai Navy SEALs are still in the cave. Radhika Viswanathan, Vox, "How the 12 Thai boys were finally rescued," 10 July 2018 This literary family saga is perfect for fans of Donna Tartt and Celeste Ng. Sam Gillette,, "Jimmy Fallon Starts His Very Own Summer Book Club – and We're All Invited to Join," 23 June 2018 But equally decisive and just as confounding is the saga of Egypt’s Mohamed Salah. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Many Fates Hang on the Feet of Injured Stars, Like Neymar’s," 16 June 2018 Want to know how long the Kawhi Leonard saga has been going on in San Antonio? Charles Curtis, For The Win, "8 new crazy Kawhi Leonard trades, according to Trade Machine," 15 June 2018 Deep down, the Cohen saga is merely a pre-indictment disagreement about which materials gathered in the federal raid are or aren’t fair game to use in a criminal probe. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "Why Michael Cohen and Michael Avenatti Both Had a Bad Day in Court," 31 May 2018 The whole saga is too absurdly detailed to not at least have some truth to it. Brian Josephs, Billboard, "The Notorious B.I.G.'s 25 Best Songs: Critic's Picks," 21 May 2018 For years now, the saga of bitcoin has been a tangled tale. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Man who claims he created bitcoin committed perjury, lawsuit says," 15 May 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

4 Nov 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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