anecdote

noun
an·​ec·​dote | \ ˈa-nik-ˌdōt How to pronounce anecdote (audio) \
plural anecdotes also anecdota\ ˌa-​nik-​ˈdō-​tə How to pronounce anecdote (audio) \

Essential Meaning of anecdote

: a short story about an interesting or funny event or occurrence He told us all sorts of humorous anecdotes about his childhood.

Full Definition of anecdote

: a usually short narrative of an interesting, amusing, or biographical incident

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Synonyms for anecdote

Synonyms

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The Greek Smear Job at the Root of Anecdote

The Byzantine official Procopius wrote three historical works in Greek. In the first two, he dealt with wars and public works projects, but the third was something of a departure from this kind of history. Referred to as "Anekdota," from the Greek a- meaning "not," and ekdidonai, meaning "to publish," it contained bitter attacks on the emperor Justinian, his wife, and other notables of contemporary Constantinople. Understandably, it was not published until after its writer's death. English speakers originally used an anglicized version of the book's name for similar secret or unpublished histories or biographies, and by the 17th century, the meaning of anecdote had been broadened to cover any interesting or amusing personal tale.

Examples of anecdote in a Sentence

Like many Jesuits who then ate most of their meals in refectories, McKenzie was a master raconteur with endless anecdotes, stories, and one-liners. — Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, Commonweal, 11 Sept. 2009 If Antony had won, of course, the story would have been very different. Indeed, despite the dominance of the Augustan version of events, a few hostile anecdotes about the young Octavian probably offer a glimpse of what Antony's side was saying. — Mary Beard, New York Review of Books, 12 Feb. 2009 appalling by turn, the dominant figure here is, as it should be, Evelyn. — Evelyn Toynton, Harper's, August 2007 Any competent science reporter knows anecdotes are not data and that one dramatic story proves nothing. Editor & Publisher, 4 Nov. 2002 Deeply convinced of her own unattractiveness, frequently lonely and unimaginably needy, Joplin was a person who lived all over the page. It is impossible to read about her and not crave more anecdotes and personal details of such a wanton, tragic life. — Kim France, New York Times Book Review, 2 May 1999 Alexander's use of the family's private papers—the Waughs were prolific writers of letters and diaries as well as books—not only adds richly to the entertainment value of his account but also serves to illuminate just how tangled are the threads of filial love, hurt, awe, and competitiveness that run through their work. Although he ranges freely over two centuries of family anecdotes, amusing and He told us all sorts of humorous anecdotes about his childhood. told us once again that anecdote about the dog and the bike
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Recent Examples on the Web Schiff writes with particular disdain for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, sharing an anecdote where the two Californians talked about the upcoming 2010 midterm elections on a plane ride back to Washington. Jeremy Herb, CNN, 6 Oct. 2021 This could be nothing more than an interesting anecdote, but two of Brady’s three lowest PFF passing grades have come against coaches from the Belichick tree. Jay Ginsbach, Forbes, 3 Oct. 2021 But the syndrome is new, and lives for the moment in the realm of theory and anecdote. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021 Not too long ago, Apple executive Bob Borchers recounted a wild anecdote about the development of the M1. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 14 July 2021 One intriguing anecdote involves the football team at the University of Mississippi, which is entirely vaccinated even though the state has one of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates. New York Times, 27 Sep. 2021 According to one anecdote, van Gogh came into her family’s drygoods store, on Rue Gambetta, wanting to buy canvas. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 11 Aug. 2021 To talk with Bob Eagle is to be steeped in one anecdote after another by a man who loves to talk about theater and its vagaries. BostonGlobe.com, 30 Mar. 2021 The salience of the matter comes through in an anecdote told to the Times by Mona Darby, a Black poultry-processing-plant worker who is helping lead the Amazon campaign. Alex Press, The New Republic, 8 Feb. 2021

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

1718, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for anecdote

French, from Greek anekdota unpublished items, from neuter plural of anekdotos unpublished, from a- + ekdidonai to publish, from ex out + didonai to give — more at ex-, date

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Time Traveler for anecdote

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The first known use of anecdote was in 1718

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Dictionary Entries Near anecdote

anecdotalist

anecdote

anecdotic

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anecdote.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anecdote. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for anecdote

anecdote

noun
an·​ec·​dote | \ ˈa-nik-ˌdōt How to pronounce anecdote (audio) \

Kids Definition of anecdote

: a short story about something interesting or funny in a person's life

More from Merriam-Webster on anecdote

Nglish: Translation of anecdote for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anecdote for Arabic Speakers

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