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

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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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Gill was among the key players in the GameStop saga who were called to testify before lawmakers in February. Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News, "GameStop shares rally on same day CEO announces he is stepping down," 19 Apr. 2021 Okay, this sets the stage for the saga of arriving at a street that has a steep decline. Lance Eliot, Forbes, "Precipice Edginess When A Self-Driving Car Drives Down A Super-Steep Slope Like These Top Ten U.S. Vertical-Drop Streets," 17 Apr. 2021 The GameStop saga earlier this year focused attention on the share-lending market, a financial arena that relatively few investors know about. Mark Hulbert, WSJ, "GameStop Called Attention to the Share-Lending Market. Here’s What You Should Know.," 2 Apr. 2021 The combination of a volatile start to the year driven by the GameStop saga and a cyclical rotation away from tech has already led hedge funds to reduce their positions in crowded trades. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "The Unwinding of Bill Hwang’s Archegos Has Few Systemic Implications," 30 Mar. 2021 The spectacular implosion of hedge fund Archegos Capital Management, much like the GameStop saga earlier this year, serves as a reminder of the dangers posed by extreme leverage, secret derivatives and rock-bottom interest rates. Matt Egan, CNN, "A little-known hedge fund caused widespread chaos on Wall Street," 29 Mar. 2021 Some 50% of Hispanic, 40% of Black, and 42% of student respondents said the GameStop saga had inspired them to get into retail trading, according to a Morning Consult poll from Jan. 29 and Feb. 1. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "The new wave of retail traders is younger, less white, and less male," 24 Mar. 2021 As American Gods viewers and creators wait to find out if the show will continue, there are two paths forward for the divine saga. Christian Holub,, "Neil Gaiman reflects on American Gods season 3, teases what could come in potential season 4," 22 Mar. 2021 And Tyrod Taylor is on the go again, landing in Houston as viable insurance for the Watson saga. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill? Life without Drew Brees will test Saints' creative mojo," 17 Mar. 2021

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

Statistics for saga

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Saga.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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 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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Comments on saga

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