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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘None of the stories were real, but one story in particular had an effect on Joanna.’
    • ‘As the story unfolds, the real character of Harry comes out into full view.’
    • ‘Many SF and fantasy adventure stories are now written by female authors.’
    • ‘These days children do not have grandparents telling them folklore and stories from epics.’
    • ‘It is a story packed with plotting, political intrigue and bloody warfare.’
    • ‘The trusty Dr Watson narrates the stories of his adventures with the sleuth of Baker Street.’
    • ‘It can't decide whether it is a detective story, a love story or a historical epic.’
    • ‘I loved reading and filled my free time with Bible stories and adventure novels for young boys.’
    • ‘His most recent work shows that a novel of philosophical analysis can be a real story.’
    • ‘The first film is a serious, atmospheric ghost story.’
    • ‘Both are finely observed and elegantly told stories of childhood and family life.’
    • ‘We sat around the table and told stories until late into the night.’
    • ‘There are romance stories, historical stories and adventures.’
    • ‘Henry James is not a name that springs to mind when we think of adventure stories, prose epics or historical fiction.’
    • ‘I write adventure stories, thrillers, so most of my heroes spend their time running after the bad guys.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That's why people like to be told stories, so they can forget about their own lives and enter another world.’
    • ‘Charlotte loved stories of romance and adventure, there had been so little romance or adventure in her life.’
    tale, narrative, account, recital
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A plot or storyline:
      ‘the novel has a good story’
      • ‘If you give people a compelling reason to come back every week for more pieces of a story, you will create rabid fans.’
      • ‘There are several coincidences in the story at present that hold it together flimsily.’
      • ‘One option we talked about was framing the story itself in flashback with a narrator.’
      • ‘As the plot unfolds, the story begins to collapse under the weight of its unanswered questions.’
      • ‘The evidence becomes incontrovertible, leading the story to its logical denouement.’
      • ‘They both have entirely messy stories, rife with plot holes and improbabilities.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Shock revelations follow as the story unravels, the plot thickens and the audience grows more intrigued.’
      • ‘But I think we always return because we are hungry for the same story, the same plot.’
      • ‘I am supposed to move the story along and provide comic relief or cynicism wherever I can.’
      • ‘The audience see it through Elaine's eyes and gradually the story unfolds and the pieces start to fall into place.’
      plot, storyline, scenario, chain of events
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    2. 1.2 A piece of gossip; a rumour:
      ‘there have been lots of stories going around, as you can imagine’
      • ‘There are stories and rumours of people who have already gone.’
      • ‘There the matter ended and six months passed without any further published stories or rumours.’
      • ‘Post quiz we headed off to the bar to catch up on gossip, swap stories and generally bond a bit.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All you've heard are stories pieced together, some blown out of all proportion over time.’
      • ‘Outside the official investigation, a different story began to circulate.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Rumours and stories about the site's future use have done the rounds for the past few years.’
      • ‘While on Pictou Island, I heard stories about a lot of wasteful helicoptering by government.’
      • ‘For centuries, if not longer, there have been rumours and stories about a giant bird living in the remote areas of Australia.’
      • ‘In his letters, he gossips, tells wicked stories and speaks the unguarded truth.’
      • ‘He fed his in-crowd with stories, gossip, tips and steers.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
    • ‘In newspapers across America, the story was presented as a humorous tale of incredible stupidity.’
    • ‘The story that news papers would of course like to run is imminent collapse and absolute disaster.’
    • ‘Every report in an Irish newspaper initially reported similar stories, he said.’
    • ‘He has written more than 2,000 news and feature stories for print and broadcast media.’
    • ‘As well as highlighting these positive stories, regional newspapers also generate good news by campaigning for local causes.’
    • ‘We only hope they will at least provide more careful, balanced statements during live broadcasts or in newspaper stories.’
    • ‘Like any young sports fan in America at that time, he read newspapers and magazine stories about his heroes.’
    • ‘This picture is taken from the local Spanish newspaper, where the traffic story is front page news.’
    • ‘He himself didn't find out about his dad's heroism until years later, when he read the story in a newspaper article.’
    • ‘I was disappointed, however, by the sensationalist way the story was presented.’
    • ‘Two recent front page stories in this newspaper represent the poles of opinion on crime and punishment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Fiction sometimes presents a much more vivid perspective on events than we can ever glean from newspaper stories or television reports.’
    • ‘Obviously we will be bringing you many other big news stories in your favourite newspaper over the coming 12 months.’
    • ‘Almost all lead stories in both major newspapers and network television news are about men's sports.’
    • ‘The policy shift has been the subject of numerous front-page news stories and op-eds.’
    • ‘We won't have to wait for front page stories in the newspaper about a bad product.’
    • ‘That evening's television news and the next day's newspapers were full of stories about the lottery winner who had taken the cash.’
    • ‘One can read multiple news stories from different sources on the same subject.’
    • ‘When he returned the local newspaper had a front-page story which made him cringe.’
    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.’
    • ‘So we sat down next to some guy who, in very slurred speech, started to tell us his life story.’
    • ‘I hope to develop a dramatic feature-length script about his life story as well.’
    • ‘Now, the fascinating story of the woman behind the pictures has begun to emerge.’
    • ‘He had just published a book of his life story, and it had become a best seller.’
    • ‘Characters do tend to drop by the wayside as in a life story, and it doesn't contain a novel's narrative.’
    • ‘His life story gives his words authenticity, whether he is talking about social exclusion or global conflict.’
    • ‘How he arrived at that view is the story of his life and work.’
    • ‘For example, the narrator uses her life story as an example of how any woman can leave an abusive relationship.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you want to understand the man and everything about him, then all of that is part of his life story.’
    • ‘Where they got the law from, and how they did it, is the whole story of the emergence of substantive common law.’
    • ‘Yesterday morning some stranger trapped me and gave me his life story for over an hour.’
    • ‘People were elected to speak with the escapees and communicate to the media their stories and personal circumstances.’
    • ‘The story of long term care in the United States holds lessons for the United Kingdom.’
    • ‘Do you think one day they will turn my life story into a film?’
    • ‘His life story is one of the most extraordinary tales in the history of the game.’
    • ‘A reformed heroin addict turned property developer is hoping to film part of his life story in Swindon.’
    • ‘What struck Jarecki while interviewing David were the gaps in his life story.’
    1. 3.1 A particular person's representation of the facts of a matter:
      ‘during police interviews, Harper changed his 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.’
      • ‘Ask any tube driver from any line and they will tell the same story.’
      • ‘When he decided to give us an interview, all other criminals wanted to give their side of the story.’
      • ‘Apart from issuing a few brief statements, the failed viceroy has yet to face the media to tell his side of the story.’
      • ‘All the women tell the same story of poverty and the need to provide for their families.’
      • ‘They do not always have access to the media, and are not necessarily able to tell their side of the story to the public.’
      • ‘Adela is put in the witness box and she is asked to recount her side of the story.’
      • ‘Now in the interests of balance, something we're very keen on here, here's her side of the story.’
      • ‘Analysts and investors are just not listening to our side of the story.’
      • ‘Anyway, I have decided to take your side of the story into consideration.’
      • ‘Then Bruce decided to go about and tell everyone, so I will present my side of the story.’
      • ‘Most of them brushed me off, but a few of them actually stopped and listened to my side of the story.’
      • ‘It's because of the Observer article that James was able to tell his own story to a local newspaper.’
      • ‘Bryan was going to tell her his side of the story whether she wanted to hear it or not.’
      • ‘Up until today I have not had the opportunity once again to defend myself, to give my side of the story.’
      • ‘Moreover Sherwood had told O'Brien to tell the same story as that originally told by Sherwood.’
      • ‘I didn't try and listen or believe your side of the story even when you tried to tell me.’
      • ‘Cassie was glad that she had finally told her side of the story but she knew that there was still more to come.’
      • ‘I want to hear your side of the story now, I want to know what you think about all this.’
      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 was a different story when an easier chance fell for him a minute later.’
      • ‘When a court official was dispatched by the judge to check the truth a different story emerged.’
      • ‘When they win it's a different story altogether; they're everywhere, like a bad rash.’
      • ‘If you only look at what the media says about attacks and dog bites, then you're not getting the whole story.’
      • ‘However, it is a different story altogether when conflict occurs in a real life situation.’
      • ‘The look on the faces of those young participants, even those who don't win, tells the whole story.’
      • ‘It might have been a different story had they not spurned two gilt-edged chances in the first five minutes.’
      • ‘He said that he met the warrant officer outside the police station and told him the whole story.’
      • ‘But it could have been a different story had the home side taken advantage of the chances which fell their way.’
      • ‘When we turn to the artisans and the peasantry of France, a different story emerges.’
      • ‘It is a story that has worrying similarities with the experiences of farmers elsewhere.’
      • ‘However, the company denied any money had been lost and, within days, a different story emerged.’
      • ‘The Students' Council made two good decisions on Sunday, but that isn't the whole story.’
      • ‘It might have been a different story if I had ventured to a bar in town by myself, but who knows.’
      • ‘Words and a picture don't always tell the whole story.’
      • ‘The whole story is however just another Leftist lie.’
      • ‘If it had happened at night then the story might have been different.’
      • ‘The front doors of almost every hospital department tell the same story.’
      • ‘The other half of the story, its complementary half, is the story about information.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 3.3the storyinformal 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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And I must say I was pretty impressed with his Spanish, but that's another story.’
      • ‘I actually remember what I was doing the day he died, but that's another story.’
      • ‘Then he started on the subliminal advertising, but that's another story altogether.’
      • ‘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.’
  • end of story

    • see end
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Business should be run by businessmen - end of story.’
      • ‘I work long hours, I'm on an average wage, end of story.’
      • ‘Pupils here are in school all day, no exceptions, end of story.’
      • ‘Winning is success, losing is failure - end of story.’
      • ‘Our campaign is not going to be about one big bang and that's it, end of story.’
      • ‘I went to a party; I had a little too much to drink, end of story.’
      • ‘They are getting phased out of the picture, end of story.’
      • ‘Juveniles are not put in with adults, 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.’
      • ‘But it's a long story, and I don't have the energy right now.’
      • ‘I would do a reading for you, but I just don't do reading for strangers; it's a long story.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lois glanced away from me, saying ‘Look, Kendra 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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
  • 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 guess it's the story of my life, I'm always letting down people.’
      • ‘But that's the story of my life - missed opportunities and bad timing.’
      • ‘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.’
  • the story goes

    • It is said or rumoured:

      ‘the story goes that he's fallen out with his friends’
      • ‘This, the story goes, secured a large crowd, a conviction for indecency and copious ticket-shifting headlines.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As the story goes, one customer ordered the syrup and the serving assistant accidentally mixed it with carbonated water.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Families today are sufficiently comfortably off to be unfazed by a gift of £250 - or so the story goes.’
      • ‘Over time, the story goes, the population inside the wall grew and the city became overcrowded.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As the story goes, she was a formidable woman who did not take to fools kindly.’
      • ‘People who hold traditional values, so the story goes, are under siege.’
      • ‘Pirates fleeing the British navy, as the story goes, found themselves on St Lucia's east coast off of Marquis Bay.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That's when we went public, and to make a long story short, it didn't work out.’
      • ‘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.’


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