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

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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 Da 5 Bloods, which is equal parts heist, war story, and bloody reckoning, follows four black US Army veterans who had a particular Vietnam War tour in common. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods is a hard watch, but an easy Netflix recommendation," 19 June 2020 Taking place after all the Rogue One protagonists are already dead, the scene plays like a coda that cements this war story’s gradual transformation into a gruesome horror show. Lauren Morgan, EW.com, "Ranking the best lightsaber battles in Star Wars, from A New Hope to The Last Jedi," 19 Dec. 2019 Fun fact: '1917' was inspired by true events Director Sam Mendes based the film on war stories told to him by his grandfather Alfred Mendes, who fought in World War I. Lara Horwitz, NBC News, "Fun fact: 'Joker' fans believe a Heath Ledger Easter egg was hidden in the film," 28 Dec. 2019 Anybody who has spent time in the upper echelons of the U.S. science bureaucracy has some war stories to tell. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "‘A door of hell.’ War stories from past NSF leaders help agency mark 70th birthday," 19 Feb. 2020 While Blake and his brother-in-arms Schofield (George McKay) are imaginary, Mendes grounded his war story in truth. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "The True History Behind the ‘1917’ Movie," 20 Dec. 2019 The former employees — all curiously filmed like aging Hollywood royalty in ornate rooms ripped from the pages of Architectural Digest — spin a series of journalistic war stories with warm, those-were-the-days nostalgia. Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "National Enquirer documentary ‘Scandalous’ is flawed, but fun to watch," 11 Nov. 2019 The inverted plot structure — from Epic Battle to Psychodramatic Duel — makes this the right kind of war story, the epic canvas sharpening to a personal saga. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Star Wars rewatch: The Empire Strikes Back is the special effects movie that hates special effects," 30 Oct. 2019 Gary Gersh isn't the type to tell war stories about his three-decade music career. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "AEG's Gary Gersh On Global Ambitions, Demand and Billie Eilish: 'She's Having a Cultural Impact Just Like Nirvana Did'," 4 Nov. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of war story

1970, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for war story

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The first known use of war story was in 1970

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Last Updated

12 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“War story.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/war%20story. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with war story

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