Main definitions of story in English

: story1story2



  • 1An account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.

    ‘an adventure story’
    ‘I'm going to tell you a story’
    • ‘We sat around the table and told stories until late into the night.’
    • ‘These days children do not have grandparents telling them folklore and stories from epics.’
    • ‘His most recent work shows that a novel of philosophical analysis can be a real story.’
    • ‘I cry every time I read a sad love story.’
    • ‘She didn't just dutifully put pen to paper, she told stories, painted pictures and opened a window into the frustrations and rare joys of her own life.’
    • ‘The first film is a serious, atmospheric ghost story.’
    • ‘Charlotte loved stories of romance and adventure, there had been so little romance or adventure in her life.’
    • ‘I write adventure stories, thrillers, so most of my heroes spend their time running after the bad guys.’
    • ‘It can't decide whether it is a detective story, a love story or a historical epic.’
    • ‘Henry James is not a name that springs to mind when we think of adventure stories, prose epics or historical fiction.’
    • ‘I loved reading and filled my free time with Bible stories and adventure novels for young boys.’
    • ‘As the story unfolds, the real character of Harry comes out into full view.’
    • ‘There are romance stories, historical stories and adventures.’
    • ‘Many SF and fantasy adventure stories are now written by female authors.’
    • ‘Both are finely observed and elegantly told stories of childhood and family life.’
    • ‘That's why people like to be told stories, so they can forget about their own lives and enter another world.’
    • ‘It is a story packed with plotting, political intrigue and bloody warfare.’
    • ‘None of the stories were real, but one story in particular had an effect on Joanna.’
    • ‘The trusty Dr Watson narrates the stories of his adventures with the sleuth of Baker Street.’
    • ‘Story telling and shadows have been around since the time of the cave people, when their fires flickered as they told stories in to the night.’
    tale, narrative, account, recital
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A plot or storyline.
      ‘the novel has a good story’
      • ‘They both have entirely messy stories, rife with plot holes and improbabilities.’
      • ‘Shock revelations follow as the story unravels, the plot thickens and the audience grows more intrigued.’
      • ‘As the plot unfolds, the story begins to collapse under the weight of its unanswered questions.’
      • ‘The audience see it through Elaine's eyes and gradually the story unfolds and the pieces start to fall into place.’
      • ‘But I think we always return because we are hungry for the same story, the same plot.’
      • ‘One option we talked about was framing the story itself in flashback with a narrator.’
      • ‘There are several coincidences in the story at present that hold it together flimsily.’
      • ‘If you give people a compelling reason to come back every week for more pieces of a story, you will create rabid fans.’
      • ‘I am supposed to move the story along and provide comic relief or cynicism wherever I can.’
      • ‘The evidence becomes incontrovertible, leading the story to its logical denouement.’
      • ‘In its own way, the film works almost like a sequel to the comic, in that there are several new subplots and stories going on that weren't in the original.’
      plot, storyline, scenario, chain of events
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2A piece of gossip; a rumour.
      ‘there have been lots of stories going around, as you can imagine’
      • ‘I could tell you a lot of stories about some of my pupil's mammies and daddies and what they got up to over the years, but I'm not going to.’
      • ‘For centuries, if not longer, there have been rumours and stories about a giant bird living in the remote areas of Australia.’
      • ‘Rumours and stories about the site's future use have done the rounds for the past few years.’
      • ‘He fed his in-crowd with stories, gossip, tips and steers.’
      • ‘Outside the official investigation, a different story began to circulate.’
      • ‘In his letters, he gossips, tells wicked stories and speaks the unguarded truth.’
      • ‘There the matter ended and six months passed without any further published stories or rumours.’
      • ‘All you've heard are stories pieced together, some blown out of all proportion over time.’
      • ‘Along the way there were stories and rumours that the two did not get on but Serena is adamant that the duo are not involved in a bitter feud.’
      • ‘You haven't seen each other in a while, you've got time to kill and you talk about how it's going, share gossip and stories from your club.’
      • ‘While on Pictou Island, I heard stories about a lot of wasteful helicoptering by government.’
      • ‘There are stories and rumours of people who have already gone.’
      • ‘Post quiz we headed off to the bar to catch up on gossip, swap stories and generally bond a bit.’
      rumour, piece of gossip, piece of hearsay, whisper
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    3. 1.3informal A false statement; a lie.
      ‘Ellie never told stories—she had always believed in the truth’
      lie, fib, falsehood, untruth, fabrication, fiction, piece of fiction
      View synonyms
  • 2A report of an item of news in a newspaper, magazine, or broadcast.

    ‘stories in the local papers’
    • ‘We won't have to wait for front page stories in the newspaper about a bad product.’
    • ‘Fiction sometimes presents a much more vivid perspective on events than we can ever glean from newspaper stories or television reports.’
    • ‘Every report in an Irish newspaper initially reported similar stories, he said.’
    • ‘As well as highlighting these positive stories, regional newspapers also generate good news by campaigning for local causes.’
    • ‘Obviously we will be bringing you many other big news stories in your favourite newspaper over the coming 12 months.’
    • ‘He has written more than 2,000 news and feature stories for print and broadcast media.’
    • ‘Like any young sports fan in America at that time, he read newspapers and magazine stories about his heroes.’
    • ‘I was disappointed, however, by the sensationalist way the story was presented.’
    • ‘One can read multiple news stories from different sources on the same subject.’
    • ‘The policy shift has been the subject of numerous front-page news stories and op-eds.’
    • ‘If you want to dig deeper, I reckon the way news media report drugs stories is but one example of a problem related to how they define news.’
    • ‘Almost all lead stories in both major newspapers and network television news are about men's sports.’
    • ‘This picture is taken from the local Spanish newspaper, where the traffic story is front page news.’
    • ‘In newspapers across America, the story was presented as a humorous tale of incredible stupidity.’
    • ‘Two recent front page stories in this newspaper represent the poles of opinion on crime and punishment.’
    • ‘When he returned the local newspaper had a front-page story which made him cringe.’
    • ‘He himself didn't find out about his dad's heroism until years later, when he read the story in a newspaper article.’
    • ‘The story that news papers would of course like to run is imminent collapse and absolute disaster.’
    • ‘We only hope they will at least provide more careful, balanced statements during live broadcasts or in newspaper stories.’
    • ‘That evening's television news and the next day's newspapers were full of stories about the lottery winner who had taken the cash.’
    news item, news report, article, feature, piece
    View synonyms
  • 3An account of past events in someone's life or in the development of something.

    ‘the story of modern farming’
    ‘the film is based on a true story’
    • ‘Like me, it is a bit wrinkled and frayed at the edges but it recalls a moment of history in the life story of Britain's railway industry.’
    • ‘Where they got the law from, and how they did it, is the whole story of the emergence of substantive common law.’
    • ‘Characters do tend to drop by the wayside as in a life story, and it doesn't contain a novel's narrative.’
    • ‘A reformed heroin addict turned property developer is hoping to film part of his life story in Swindon.’
    • ‘How he arrived at that view is the story of his life and work.’
    • ‘People were elected to speak with the escapees and communicate to the media their stories and personal circumstances.’
    • ‘What struck Jarecki while interviewing David were the gaps in his life story.’
    • ‘The story of long term care in the United States holds lessons for the United Kingdom.’
    • ‘His Vietnam service apart, his life story was insufficiently inspirational to excite the electorate.’
    • ‘They had been expecting him to make an announcement about his new film, which will centre on his life story.’
    • ‘His life story gives his words authenticity, whether he is talking about social exclusion or global conflict.’
    • ‘He had just published a book of his life story, and it had become a best seller.’
    • ‘For example, the narrator uses her life story as an example of how any woman can leave an abusive relationship.’
    • ‘Do you think one day they will turn my life story into a film?’
    • ‘If you want to understand the man and everything about him, then all of that is part of his life story.’
    • ‘Now, the fascinating story of the woman behind the pictures has begun to emerge.’
    • ‘Yesterday morning some stranger trapped me and gave me his life story for over an hour.’
    • ‘I hope to develop a dramatic feature-length script about his life story as well.’
    • ‘So we sat down next to some guy who, in very slurred speech, started to tell us his life story.’
    • ‘His life story is one of the most extraordinary tales in the history of the game.’
    1. 3.1A particular person's representation of the facts of a matter.
      ‘during police interviews, Harper changed his story’
      • ‘Analysts and investors are just not listening to our side of the story.’
      • ‘Adela is put in the witness box and she is asked to recount her side of the story.’
      • ‘At best, it will make some detainees feel better by letting them tell their side of the story.’
      • ‘The police chief's decision to tell his side of the story proved controversial from the start.’
      • ‘When he decided to give us an interview, all other criminals wanted to give their side of the story.’
      • ‘All the women tell the same story of poverty and the need to provide for their families.’
      • ‘Up until today I have not had the opportunity once again to defend myself, to give my side of the story.’
      • ‘I didn't try and listen or believe your side of the story even when you tried to tell me.’
      • ‘It's because of the Observer article that James was able to tell his own story to a local newspaper.’
      • ‘Now in the interests of balance, something we're very keen on here, here's her side of the story.’
      • ‘Cassie was glad that she had finally told her side of the story but she knew that there was still more to come.’
      • ‘Then Bruce decided to go about and tell everyone, so I will present my side of the story.’
      • ‘They do not always have access to the media, and are not necessarily able to tell their side of the story to the public.’
      • ‘Most of them brushed me off, but a few of them actually stopped and listened to my side of the story.’
      • ‘Bryan was going to tell her his side of the story whether she wanted to hear it or not.’
      • ‘Moreover Sherwood had told O'Brien to tell the same story as that originally told by Sherwood.’
      • ‘Anyway, I have decided to take your side of the story into consideration.’
      • ‘Ask any tube driver from any line and they will tell the same story.’
      • ‘I want to hear your side of the story now, I want to know what you think about all this.’
      • ‘Apart from issuing a few brief statements, the failed viceroy has yet to face the media to tell his side of the story.’
      testimony, statement, report, account, version, description, representation
      View synonyms
    2. 3.2[in singular]A situation viewed in terms of the information known about it or its similarity to another.
      ‘having such information is useful, but it is not the whole story’
      ‘United kept on trying but it was the same old story—no luck’
      • ‘But it could have been a different story had the home side taken advantage of the chances which fell their way.’
      • ‘If you only look at what the media says about attacks and dog bites, then you're not getting the whole story.’
      • ‘It might have been a different story if I had ventured to a bar in town by myself, but who knows.’
      • ‘But it was a different story when an easier chance fell for him a minute later.’
      • ‘It might have been a different story had they not spurned two gilt-edged chances in the first five minutes.’
      • ‘They kicked a lot of wides in the first half and if they had put them on the board it might have been a different story.’
      • ‘When we turn to the artisans and the peasantry of France, a different story emerges.’
      • ‘The Students' Council made two good decisions on Sunday, but that isn't the whole story.’
      • ‘The look on the faces of those young participants, even those who don't win, tells the whole story.’
      • ‘If it had happened at night then the story might have been different.’
      • ‘It is a story that has worrying similarities with the experiences of farmers elsewhere.’
      • ‘The front doors of almost every hospital department tell the same story.’
      • ‘However, the company denied any money had been lost and, within days, a different story emerged.’
      • ‘The other half of the story, its complementary half, is the story about information.’
      • ‘When they win it's a different story altogether; they're everywhere, like a bad rash.’
      • ‘When a court official was dispatched by the judge to check the truth a different story emerged.’
      • ‘However, it is a different story altogether when conflict occurs in a real life situation.’
      • ‘He said that he met the warrant officer outside the police station and told him the whole story.’
      • ‘Words and a picture don't always tell the whole story.’
      • ‘The whole story is however just another Leftist lie.’
    3. 3.3informal The facts about the present situation.
      ‘What's the story on this man? Is he from around here?’
  • 4The commercial prospects or circumstances of a particular company.

    ‘the investors' flight to profitable businesses with solid stories’


  • but that's another story

    • informal Used after raising a matter to indicate that one does not want to expand on it for now.

      • ‘I know the council planners are very busy worrying about chimney stacks on new houses that don't actually need them, but that's another story.’
      • ‘Then he started on the subliminal advertising, but that's another story altogether.’
      • ‘I also hate people who don't even smile or thank you when you hold the door open for them out of courtesy, but that's another story.’
      • ‘I actually remember what I was doing the day he died, but that's another story.’
      • ‘His well-meaning wife also once performed an exorcism in my kitchen, but that's another story.’
      • ‘Of course I was useless with women, but that's another story.’
      • ‘Then I got a job and bought a house, and then I went to work in Washington DC... but that's another story.’
      • ‘There's an outside chance my son was conceived there, but that's another story.’
      • ‘There was also a papaya tree on the balcony that eventually crashed, pot and all into the back lane below, but that's another story.’
      • ‘And I must say I was pretty impressed with his Spanish, but that's another story.’
  • end of story

    • see end
      • ‘I work long hours, I'm on an average wage, end of story.’
      • ‘Business should be run by businessmen - end of story.’
      • ‘Pupils here are in school all day, no exceptions, end of story.’
      • ‘Our campaign is not going to be about one big bang and that's it, end of story.’
      • ‘I knew it wasn't the full story, the investigators knew it wasn't the full story but it was the statement that was going to be made, end of story.’
      • ‘I went to a party; I had a little too much to drink, end of story.’
      • ‘Winning is success, losing is failure - end of story.’
      • ‘Juveniles are not put in with adults, end of story.’
      • ‘They are getting phased out of the picture, end of story.’
      • ‘From now on I'm doing the disciplining around here, end of story.’
    • Used to emphasize that there is nothing to add on a matter just mentioned.

      ‘Men don't cry in public. End of story’
  • it's a long story

    • informal Used to indicate that, for now, one does not want to talk about something that is too painful or complicated.

      • ‘Yeah, it's a long story, I'll tell you some other time.’
      • ‘‘I - it's a long story,’ she said, looking away and twisting her fingers painfully.’
      • ‘Yeah, I don't like sunny weather, it makes me depressed, it's a long story so I'll end it there.’
      • ‘Never mind, it's a long story - I just owe her something from the past.’
      • ‘Look it's a long story and I don't want to talk about it okay!’
      • ‘I really need you to come home - it's a long story and I'm really, really sorry.’
      • ‘I would do a reading for you, but I just don't do reading for strangers; it's a long story.’
      • ‘It's (the tail end of) Purim, when it's traditional to eat triangular shaped pastries, though frankly it's a long story that I can't go into now.’
      • ‘Lois glanced away from me, saying ‘Look, Kendra it's a long story.’’
      • ‘But it's a long story, and I don't have the energy right now.’
  • it's (or that's) the story of one's life

    • informal Used as a resigned acknowledgement that one has experienced a particular misfortune too often.

      ‘‘He's more likely to have run off with a dancer,’ Laura said bitterly. ‘It's the story of my life.’’
      • ‘I was running a little late, but then that's the story of my life.’
      • ‘He didn't want to, and that's the story of my life.’
      • ‘But that's the story of my life - missed opportunities and bad timing.’
      • ‘I guess it's the story of my life, I'm always letting down people.’
  • the story goes

    • It is said or rumoured.

      ‘the story goes that he's fallen out with his friends’
      • ‘A few days later, so the story goes, a large growth resembling the stump of an animal's horn sprang from the guilty man's forehead.’
      • ‘Families today are sufficiently comfortably off to be unfazed by a gift of £250 - or so the story goes.’
      • ‘Pirates fleeing the British navy, as the story goes, found themselves on St Lucia's east coast off of Marquis Bay.’
      • ‘We called it Nelson because it only had one eye, the other one having been ripped out by a hungry seagull - or so the story goes.’
      • ‘As the story goes, she was a formidable woman who did not take to fools kindly.’
      • ‘As the story goes, one customer ordered the syrup and the serving assistant accidentally mixed it with carbonated water.’
      • ‘People who hold traditional values, so the story goes, are under siege.’
      • ‘Over time, the story goes, the population inside the wall grew and the city became overcrowded.’
      • ‘This fearsome serpent, so the story goes, had a poisoned tongue, breathed fire and smoke, and had teeth as large as the prongs of a pitchfork.’
      • ‘This, the story goes, secured a large crowd, a conviction for indecency and copious ticket-shifting headlines.’
  • to cut (or north americanmake) a long story short

    • Used to end an account of events quickly.

      ‘to cut a long story short, I married Stephen’
      • ‘I became independent and to make a long story short, here I am now, living in an apartment, financially stable, and not addicted to drugs.’
      • ‘Well, to make a long story short, Warren came to the play bearing a bouquet of roses for the leading lady, and the rest is history.’
      • ‘It was total drama, and to make a long story short, for one of the few times in my life, I thought I was in love.’
      • ‘Anyway to cut a long story short, we complained as did other guests to the arrogant hotelier, who did, after being berated, agree to refund our money.’
      • ‘Anyway, to make a long story short, I met a guy - a fellow chorus boy - and we had a fling.’
      • ‘So to make a long story short, I am finally graduating and I would never come back to this school to do my masters.’
      • ‘I was doing research on how traumatic experiences impact memory functioning and to make a long story short, alien abductions was a type of traumatic experience people were reporting.’
      • ‘Having landed in the New World in 1519, he stumbled across the Aztec xocoatl drink and, to cut a long story short, was responsible for spreading its popularity across the globe.’
      • ‘Well, to make a long story short, I impressed this group of young kids so much that they begged me to be on their team.’
      • ‘That's when we went public, and to make a long story short, it didn't work out.’


Middle English (denoting a historical account or representation): shortening of Anglo-Norman French estorie, from Latin historia (see history).




Main definitions of story in English

: story1story2



North American