Definitions for anecdoteˈæn ɪkˌdoʊt

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word anecdote

Princeton's WordNet

  1. anecdote(noun)

    short account of an incident (especially a biographical one)


  1. anecdote(Noun)

    A short account of an incident, often humorous.

  2. anecdote(Noun)

    An account which supports an argument, but which is not supported by scientific or statistical analysis.

  3. anecdote(Noun)

    A previously untold secret account of an incident.

  4. Origin: Late 17th century, from anecdote, from ἀνέκδοτος, from ἀν- (English an-) + ἔκδοτος, from ἐκδίδωμι, from ἐκ- + δίδωμι.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Anecdote(noun)

    unpublished narratives

  2. Anecdote(noun)

    a particular or detached incident or fact of an interesting nature; a biographical incident or fragment; a single passage of private life

  3. Origin: [F. anecdote, fr. Gr. not published; 'an priv. + given out, to give out, to publish; out + to give. See Dose, n.]


  1. Anecdote

    An anecdote is a short and amusing or interesting account, which may depict a real incident or person. Anecdotes can be as brief as the setting and provocation of a bon mot. An anecdote is always presented as based in a real incident involving actual persons, whether famous or not, usually in an identifiable place. However, over time, modification in reuse may convert a particular anecdote to a fictional piece, one that is retold but is "too good to be true". Sometimes humorous, anecdotes are not jokes, because their primary purpose is not simply to evoke laughter, but to reveal a truth more general than the brief tale itself, or to delineate a character trait in such a light that it strikes in a flash of insight to its very essence. Novalis observed "An anecdote is a historical element — a historical molecule or epigram". A brief monologue beginning "A man pops in a bar..." will be a joke. A brief monologue beginning "Once J. Edgar Hoover popped in a bar..." will be an anecdote. An anecdote thus is closer to the tradition of the parable than the patently invented fable with its animal characters and generic human figures— but it is distinct from the parable in the historical specificity which it claims.

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Ben J. Wattenberg:

    The plural of anecdote is data.

  2. William Ellery Channing:

    One good anecdote is worth a volume of biography.

  3. Rand Paul:

    I think it's an important question and I don't think it's a historical anecdote. I don't think it's something that's a hypothetical question.

  4. Lindsey Graham:

    The statement of [Sen. Rand] Paul would create anxiety because he's a doctor, he's a respected senator and there is no evidence that I'm aware of that a vaccine causes mental retardation, if he has that evidence he should come forward and let the scientific community do something about it. You cannot scare people by anecdote.

  5. Al Seckel:

    In conclusion, there is a marvelous anecdote from the occasion of Russell's ninetieth birthday that best serves to summarize his attitude toward God and religion. A London lady sat next to him at this party, and over the soup she suggested to him that he was not only the world's most famous atheist but, by this time, very probably the world's oldest atheist. 'What will you do, Bertie, if it turns out you're wrong' she asked. 'I mean, what if--uh--when the time comes, you should meet Him What will you say' Russell was delighted with the question. His birght, birdlike eyes grew even brighter as he contempalated this possible future dialogue, and then he pointed a finger upward and cried, 'Why, I should say, 'God, you gave us insufficient evidence.' '

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