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  1. a medieval Icelandic or Norse prose narrative of achievements and events in the history of a personage, family, etc.
  2. any narrative or legend of heroic exploits.
  3. Also called saga novel. a form of the novel in which the members or generations of a family or social group are chronicled in a long and leisurely narrative.
  4. a dramatic history of a group, place, industry, etc.: the saga of the transcontinental railroad.
  5. any very long story with dramatic events or parts: the sad saga of her life in poverty.
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Origin of saga

1700–10; < Old Norse; cognate with saw3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for saga


  1. any of several medieval prose narratives written in Iceland and recounting the exploits of a hero or a family
  2. any similar heroic narrative
  3. Also called: saga novel a series of novels about several generations or members of a family
  4. any other artistic production said to resemble a saga
  5. informal a series of events or a story stretching over a long period
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Word Origin

C18: from Old Norse: a narrative; related to Old English secgan to say 1
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 saga


1709, an antiquarians' revival to describe the medieval prose narratives of Iceland and Norway, from Old Norse saga "saga, story," cognate with Old English sagu "a saying" (see saw (n.2)). Properly, a narrative composition of Iceland or Norway in the Middle Ages, or one that has their characteristics. Meaning "long, convoluted story" is from 1857.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper