View synonyms for anecdotal


[ an-ik-doht-l ]


  1. pertaining to, resembling, or containing anecdotes:

    an anecdotal history of jazz.

  2. Fine Arts. (of the treatment of subject matter in representational art) pertaining to the relationship of figures or to the arrangement of elements in a scene so as to emphasize the story content of a subject. Compare narrative ( def 7 ).
  3. based on personal observation, case study reports, or random investigations rather than systematic scientific evaluation:

    anecdotal evidence.


/ ˌænɛkˈdəʊtəl /


  1. containing or consisting exclusively of anecdotes rather than connected discourse or research conducted under controlled conditions

Discover More

Other Words From

  • an·ec·do·tal·ism noun
  • an·ec·do·tal·ly adverb
  • un·an·ec·do·tal adjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of anecdotal1

First recorded in 1830–40; anecdote + -al 1

Discover More

Example Sentences

While it is possible that nearby wildlife, normally turned off by our noise, were now wandering into the territory of their human neighbors, the reports were mostly anecdotal.

While Google hasn’t released any LSA data, anecdotal evidence suggests these ads are performing well.

A few other anecdotal cases of reinfection have since emerged, including one from Bengaluru.

From Quartz

There is mounting anecdotal evidence that when you adjust training protocols to the specifics of female physiology, athletes perform better.

We are beginning to hear reports of delays, but this information is anecdotal right now.

From Fortune

If true—and it appears consistent with anecdotal information—about 50 regime figures have been killed this year.

He also links the racial composition of the fans to his anecdotal assessment that there are fewer fathers and sons in attendance.

The field has produced only anecdotal or other evidence that does not pass muster in the scientific community.

The “link” consists in anecdotal reports that some people think kids with autism improve on a dairy-free diet.

Charismatic superstars from the great Pelé to Beckenbauer to Maradona make illuminating anecdotal appearances.

It was Harwood's habit to spend a day in the towns he visited, gathering local color and collecting anecdotal matter.

An anecdotal volume this, with moments on the Riviera and matches played in South Africa.

There was a whiff of gunpowder exciting the atmosphere in the anecdotal part of the history known.

But a spiced incident, a notorious couple,—an anecdotal witness to the scene,—could you expect Mr. Rose Mackrell to contain it?

It is anecdotal, technical and historical, and displays the credulity of the writer in regard to the miraculous.


Related Words

Discover More

More About Anecdotal

What does anecdotal mean?

Anecdotal describes something that is related to a short account of an incident from a particular perspective.

Something that is anecdotal is a story told through anecdotes. An anecdote is a short recounting of an event from someone’s point of view, normally in a pleasant or humorous manner. For example, anecdotal history is a historical account that is laid out through the perspectives of the people involved.

Anecdotal also describes something, such as research, that is based on personal observation and experience. Anecdotal evidence can be gathered by interviews, surveys, and other methods that allow people to share their experiences with the researcher.  In comparison, scientific evidence is gathered by comparing a dependent and independent variable in a controlled environment. Both types of evidence are important, but anecdotal evidence can’t prove something the way repeated testing and consistent results can.

Example: My science paper relied on anecdotal evidence instead of experimentation, so the teacher gave me a low grade.

Where does anecdotal come from?

The first records of the term anecdotal come from around 1830. It combines the word anecdote, meaning “a short account of an incident or event,” and the suffix al, meaning “of the kind of, pertaining to.”

You might also come across anecdotal in discussions about legal cases. In a legal context, something is considered anecdotal if it is based on a bias of any kind, involves uncorroborated circumstances, or is irrelevant to the topic being discussed. Oftentimes, personal accounts of experience with a plaintiff or defendant will be deleted from the record if they are anecdotal.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to anecdotal?

  • anecdotalism (noun)
  • anecdotally (adverb)
  • unanecdotal (adjective)

What are some synonyms for anecdotal?

What are some words that share a root or word element with anecdotal?

What are some words that often get used in discussing anecdotal?

What are some words anecdotal may be commonly confused with?

How is anecdotal used in real life?

Anecdotal is commonly used in recounting, history, and reports about events, often in the context of a short, fun story.


Try using anecdotal!

True or False?

Anecdotal evidence is based on a systematic, scientific evaluation.