[an-ik-doht-l, an-ik-doht-l]
  1. pertaining to, resembling, or containing anecdotes: an anecdotal history of jazz.
  2. (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.

Origin of anecdotal

First recorded in 1830–40; anecdote + -al1
Related formsan·ec·do·tal·ism, nounan·ec·do·tal·ly, adverbun·an·ec·do·tal, adjectiveun·an·ec·do·tal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for anecdotalism


  1. containing or consisting exclusively of anecdotes rather than connected discourse or research conducted under controlled conditions
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for anecdotalism



1794, from anecdote + -al (1). Related: Anecdotally. Anecdotical is attested from 1744.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper