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

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 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

Vogueworld Gwendoline Christie Ruled the Game of Thrones Red Carpet in a Gown of Ice and Fire As the Game of Thrones saga comes to a close, many have tried to sum up the magic behind George R. R. Martin’s tale of kings, queens, and dragons. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Gwendoline Christie Ruled the Game of Thrones Red Carpet in a Gown of Ice and Fire," 4 Apr. 2019 So any hamster tips are welcome — christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) March 11, 2019 The climax of this saga was definitely when Peanut Butter escaped. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Coach John Legend Is 'Not Thrilled' About the New Member of His Family," 23 Mar. 2019 Thus far, the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald trailers have implied their fair share of beasts and crimes, but the newest and final teaser for the next installment of the Wizarding World saga is without a doubt the most fantastic. Chelsea Stone, Teen Vogue, "The Final "Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald" Trailer Reveals Major "Harry Potter" Connections," 25 Sep. 2018 But that wasn't the end of the saga for the comedian. CBS News, "How a comedian's prank call was allegedly patched through to the president," 1 July 2018 One can easily imagine both a shorter movie version of this saga and a longer, 10-hour version, and both options hold some appeal. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "Review: ‘A Very English Scandal’ Is Very Good. And Scandalous.," 28 June 2018 Here are some of the iconic images from the Orlando Sentinel’s coverage of the saga. Red Huber,, "Casey Anthony saga 10 years later — A look back through iconic pictures," 22 June 2018 The two companies also co-produced Fearless (2006), starring Jet Li, and Rise of the Legend (2014), a retelling of the Wong Fei Hung saga starring Eddie Peng. Karen Chu, The Hollywood Reporter, "Universal Opens Hong Kong Office, Appoints Anita Cheung GM," 19 June 2018 The highest-profile of those leaving his post was Bishop Juan Barros of Osorno, 61, who has been in the vortex of the abuse saga. Jorge Poblete And Patrick J. Mcdonnell,, "Pope accepts resignations of three Chilean bishops tied to Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal," 11 June 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

23 Apr 2019

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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 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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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 Encyclopedia article about saga

Comments on saga

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