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 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

It: Chapter Two floats into theaters this weekend, concluding the skin-crawling saga of seven childhood friends doing battle with a demonic entity in their Maine hometown. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "Rise of the Super Sequel! As ‘It: Chapter Two’ Hits Theaters, Why Are Blockbusters Getting So Long?," 6 Sep. 2019 The ongoing saga of the Raiders receiver Antonio Brown reminded me of that conversation. Kent Somers, azcentral, "Antonio Brown gives Cardinals a reason to be thankful for Larry Fitzgerald," 5 Sep. 2019 The Amazon series Free Meek, released last week, follows the 12-year legal saga of the Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill, who is signed to Roc Nation (and around whom many NFL players have rallied in recent years). Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "What Kind of Activist Does Jay-Z Want to Be?," 15 Aug. 2019 The saga of Robb and Chance was chronicled in the Tampa Bay Times, the Miami Herald and TV stations across the state, among other places. Ben Meyerson,, "Humboldt Park alligator trapper Frank Robb rides his Chicago celebrity back to Florida," 24 July 2019 There is race hatred, but there also is a hunger in our nation for some event that will allow us to in some sense close the book on the saga of race in America. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "Joe Biden, Designated White Guy," 13 Aug. 2019 The saga is a tale of the violent horrors of colonialism. Katie Walsh,, "‘Angry Birds Movie 2’ review: Feathered friends, pigs must band together," 12 Aug. 2019 The saga is a tale of the violent horrors of colonialism. Katie Walsh, Detroit Free Press, "‘Angry Birds 2’ is chaotic, occasionally thoughtful," 12 Aug. 2019 The whole Antonio Brown saga is funny enough already. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Kliff Kingsbury had a hilarious response to Antonio Brown's helmet issues," 12 Aug. 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.

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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

9 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

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


concealment of treason or felony

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