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Alternative forms[edit]


From Anglo-Norman estorie, from Latin historia, from Ancient Greek ἱστορία (historía, history). Compare history and storey (floor of a building).



story (plural stories)

  1. A sequence of real or fictional events; or, an account of such a sequence.
    • Ed. Rev.
      Venice, with its unique city and its impressive story
    • Sir W. Temple
      The four great monarchies make the subject of ancient story.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, The Celebrity:
      The stories did not seem to me to touch life. They were plainly intended to have a bracing moral effect, and perhaps had this result for the people at whom they were aimed. They left me with the impression of a well-delivered stereopticon lecture, with characters about as life-like as the shadows on the screen, and whisking on and off, at the mercy of the operator.
    • 2013 June 29, “Travels and travails”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 55: 
      Even without hovering drones, a lurking assassin, a thumping score and a denouement, the real-life story of Edward Snowden, a rogue spy on the run, could be straight out of the cinema. But, as with Hollywood, the subplots and exotic locations may distract from the real message: America’s discomfort and its foes’ glee.
    The book tells the story of two roommates.
  2. A lie.
    You’ve been telling stories again, haven’t you?
  3. (chiefly US) A floor or level of a building; a storey.
    Our shop was on the fourth story of the building, so we had to install an elevator.
  4. (US, colloquial, usually pluralized) A soap opera.
    What will she do without being able to watch her stories?
  5. (obsolete) History.
    • 1644, John Milton, Aeropagitica:
      [] who is so unread or so uncatechis'd in story, that hath not heard of many sects refusing books as a hindrance, and preserving their doctrine unmixt for many ages, only by unwritt'n traditions.
  6. A sequence of events, or a situation, such as might be related in an account.
    What's the story with him?
    I tried it again; same story, no error message, nothing happened.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (soap opera): Popularized in the 1950s, when soap operas were often billed as "continuing stories", the term "story" to describe a soap opera fell into disuse by the 21st century and is now used chiefly among older people and in rural areas. Other English-speaking countries used the term at its zenith as a "loaned" word from the United States.


Derived terms[edit]



story (third-person singular simple present stories, present participle storying, simple past and past participle storied)

  1. To tell as a story; to relate or narrate about.
    • Shakespeare
      How worthy he is I will leave to appear hereafter, rather than story him in his own hearing.
    • Bishop Wilkins
      It is storied of the brazen colossus in Rhodes, that it was seventy cubits high.