Definition of saga in English:



  • 1A long story of heroic achievement, especially a medieval prose narrative in Old Norse or Old Icelandic.

    ‘a figure straight out of a Viking saga’
    • ‘The ancient sagas of Snorri Sturluson are well-known among medieval literary scholars.’
    • ‘I even read the Norse sagas and Icelandic literature and I love Celtic lore.’
    • ‘Despite all the heroic deeds in tales and sagas, a grown man would have seen a major conflict about once every twenty years.’
    • ‘Because if sagas make contemporary war stories pale into nothingness, the old fairy tales make contemporary horror seem like nice, sweet stories dreamed up by the boys at Disney.’
    • ‘It had also a supporting role within several great ethno-historical myths: the Táin, the Welsh epics, the lives of saints, the Viking sagas.’
    • ‘Okpewho apparently wishes to treat his narratives as a form of heroic recitation similar to the epics and heroic sagas that have been recorded elsewhere on the continent, despite the generic differences described above.’
    • ‘Oral-connected prose works such as the Mabinogion and the Norse sagas fall within the discussion, but Foley develops no distinction between the poetic and the non-poetic in the context of oral art.’
    • ‘Like the earliest of the sagas, they were written in the late 12th century, and there are some textual relations between the Latin histories and the Icelandic sagas.’
    • ‘Such verses are preserved mainly in the kings' sagas; many ‘lausavísur’ or occasional verses, and some love poetry are included in the narratives of family sagas.’
    • ‘Maybe that rumour could be added to the list of Viking myths and sagas that will feature next Friday in Bardic Adventurers!’
    • ‘The first sagas were the Norse sagas from Iceland and Scandinavia.’
    • ‘Famous swords abound in the sagas, for example Grásítha (grey-sides) and Gunnlogi (flame of battle) in Gísla's Saga.’
    • ‘However, more recent research suggests that the Jomsvikings may never have existed as the disciplined guild of warriors portrayed in the sagas.’
    • ‘Their story, told in an Icelandic saga, neatly sums up the English experience of the Norman Conquest.’
    • ‘There are boulders in Iceland that have historical significance as having been the stones mentioned in the sagas.’
    • ‘Action continues throughout the week with battle re-enactments, living history, Viking walks, contemporary art, Viking sagas, the Long Ship River Challenge on the Ouse, and Viking markets.’
    • ‘Had Guo ever read the old Icelandic sagas, she would have found the scene toward the end of The Saga of Burnt Njal quite familiar.’
    • ‘The sagas, legends, myths and histories which have been passed on orally or in written documents by ancient peoples are sometimes called pseudohistory.’
    • ‘In England, William Morris translated the Icelandic sagas and Cecil Sharp collected village dances and songs.’
    • ‘The manuscripts are the source for all the major texts of Old and Middle Irish literature, such as sagas, dinnshenchas, genealogies, law tracts, and much other lore.’
    epic, chronicle, legend, folk tale, romance, traditional story, history, narrative, adventure, fairy story, myth
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  • 2A long, involved story, account, or series of incidents.

    ‘launching into the saga of her engagement’
    • ‘Instead, the whole saga was blown up by Microsoft's PR machine to help them avoid paying the huge fine.’
    • ‘Here began a saga which though now resolved may yet have a sequel.’
    • ‘It's fully revised, with a new chapter taking in the whole saga of his resignation and comeback.’
    • ‘At least one thing came out of the whole saga, and that was that I managed to write a post that brought people to my blog.’
    • ‘The Jacobite story was one of history's longest running spy sagas.’
    • ‘Remember last year, and the whole saga of the Vicarage being saved from falling down?’
    • ‘Indeed Mr Jones is right to acknowledge the impact the whole saga has had on staff morale.’
    • ‘An account of the sorry saga appeared in a Think Secret scoop last week.’
    • ‘I walked out thankful the whole saga was over - it is a very stressful time for footballers.’
    • ‘And so began a saga that involved the Rail Regulator and the Rail Passenger Committee.’
    • ‘Trudeau's stated goal was to produce a work that provides ‘a comprehensive narrative of one of the most unforgettable sagas in United States history.’’
    • ‘The truth is that the Enron saga began in India many years ago, many years before I knew anything about it.’
    • ‘Having heard the whole saga, I would not lay that charge at their door.’
    • ‘And because the Internet is so amazing you can see the whole saga here with just one click.’
    • ‘History will not be on Blair's side, it will show that the whole saga is a great political scandal.’
    • ‘Later she was described as the only sane person in the whole saga.’
    • ‘The saga began two years ago when a swimmer died after hitting his head on a submerged post in the lake.’
    • ‘The Minister's gaffe came amidst a day of heightened pressure on all players involved in the saga.’
    • ‘The saga begins in London with the American hostess Barbara Heinz inviting Dorrit to lunch.’
    • ‘Thirty seconds into the additional period came what would be the turning point of the whole saga.’
    rigmarole, story, lengthy explanation, lengthy statement, lengthy story
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Early 18th century: from Old Norse, literally narrative; related to saw.