saga

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

When veteran book author Mark Sullivan tried to sell a World War II saga in 2015, eight New York book publishers rejected it. Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, WSJ, "‘They Own the System’: Amazon Rewrites Book Industry by Marching Into Publishing," 16 Jan. 2019 It's been a cringe-inducing saga, to say the least. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Is Reportedly Planning a Secret Trip to Visit Her Estranged Father, Thomas Markle," 5 Aug. 2018 Mahrez was the subject of a huge saga at the end of the January transfer window, with Manchester City trying desperately to sign the former PFA Player of the Year. SI.com, "Riyad Mahrez Set for Medical With Man City in Next 48 Hours After £60m Fee Agreed With Leicester," 8 July 2018 The filing marked the latest twist in a saga that captured the imagination of the art world when Maier’s photos burst onto the scene nine years ago. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, "Genealogical investigation uncovers 10 heirs of famed Chicago street photographer Vivian Maier," 26 June 2018 The ruling ends a legal saga that dates to the beginning of the Trump presidency and helped define his assertive, divisive leadership style. Fortune, "U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Trump Travel Ban," 26 June 2018 In director Joe Dowling’s production — the opener for the Globe’s summer Shakespeare Festival — the character is named Prospera, and her relationship with the young Miranda is thus transformed into a mother-daughter saga. James Hebert, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Kate Burton is at the center of 'The Tempest' in Old Globe's Shakespeare Festival opener," 15 June 2018 The gap resulted from a long and tumultuous #MeToo saga that sent shock waves through the AMNH and the international anthropology community. Michael Balter, Scientific American, "Leading Science Museum Turns the Page on a Prominent #MeToo Case," 21 May 2018 Photo: Reuters The Huawei saga now includes multiple arrests and has global ramifications. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, "Huawei Arrest Puts Poland on a Diplomatic Tightrope," 15 Jan. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of saga

1709, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for saga

Old Norse — more at saw

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about saga

Dictionary Entries near saga

saft

sag

SAG

saga

sagaciate

sagacious

sagacity

Statistics for saga

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for saga

The first known use of saga was in 1709

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for saga

saga

noun

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

saga

noun
sa·​ga | \ ˈsä-gə \

Kids Definition of saga

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about saga

Comments on saga

What made you want to look up saga? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!