war story


Definition of war story 

: a story of a memorable personal experience typically involving an element of danger, hardship, or adventure politicians swapping war stories from past campaigns

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

People have been telling stories about real wars since long before Washington Irving wrote the following in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: "folks . . . sat smoking at one end of the piazza, . . . drawing out long stories about the war." But today tellers of "war stories" need not have experienced a literal battlefield. Around the middle of the 19th century, "war story" took on a more figurative meaning, and nowadays such accounts can encompass challenges in the workplace, on the campaign trail, in sports, in one's travels . . . wherever difficulties need to be overcome.

Examples of war story in a Sentence

He liked to tell war stories from his life as a sea captain. We exchanged war stories about our time as interns at the same company.

Recent Examples on the Web

Bourgeois said the shows deliberately cover a wide range, both in time — several are silent movies— and genre, including comedies, dramas, historical films, war stories, science fiction, and even a reality TV show. Janet Mcconnaughey, The Seattle Times, "New Louisiana Film Trail website; state plans more," 4 Sep. 2018 O'Donnell's focus on the Body Bearers makes The Unknowns stand out from the normal war story. Ray Locker, USA TODAY, "Gripping 'The Unknowns' follows WWI heroes who buried the Unknown Soldier," 21 May 2018 Here, starting in 1919, a group of working writers and wits including Dorothy Parker and Harold Ross gathered regularly to eat lunch, swap writing-life war stories, and, well, be witty. Jennifer Larue, The Seattle Times, "Soaking up Manhattan’s literary history: A book lover’s bar-hopping guide," 2 July 2018 Runners greet each other warmly and exchange war stories of past Barkleys. David G. Allan, CNN, "The infamous murderer's prison escape that inspired a near-impossible ultramarathon," 26 May 2018 Places of entertainment shut down and TV and radio stations air war stories and melancholic music. Fox News, "Israel, marking annual Memorial Day, comes to a standstill," 17 Apr. 2018 Bob and my husband loved to tell war stories — Bob’s from World War II and my husband’s from Iraq and Afghanistan. Joy Wallace Dickinson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Readers recall Buddie’s, fine art and pink chicks," 22 Apr. 2018 Many of the runners hung out for several hours, trading war stories, until buses came to take them to the finish line. Matt Rocheleau, BostonGlobe.com, "900 Marathon runners receive medical treatment along route," 16 Apr. 2018 Now, O’Rawe avoids going to places like the Felons Club in West Belfast, where IRA veterans drain pints and tell war stories. Kevin Cullen, BostonGlobe.com, "Irish hopes may be stopped at the border," 8 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'war story.' 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 war story

1970, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about war story

Listen to Our Podcast about war story

Dictionary Entries near war story


war song


war story



war-tax stamp

Statistics for war story

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for war story

The first known use of war story was in 1970

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for war story

war story


English Language Learners Definition of war story

: a story of a personal experience that usually involves danger, struggle, or adventure

More from Merriam-Webster on war story

See words that rhyme with war story

Comments on war story

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


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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