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a brief story relating an interesting or amusing event: His anecdote was very funny.
Not to be confused with:
antidote – a remedy for counteracting a poison or disease: She was given an antidote immediately.


1. A short account of an interesting or humorous incident.
2. pl. an·ec·dotes or an·ec·do·ta (-dō′tə) Secret or hitherto undivulged particulars of history or biography.

[French, from Greek anekdota, unpublished items : an-, not; see a-1 + ekdota, neuter pl. of ekdotos, published (from ekdidonai, ekdo-, to publish : ek-, out; see ecto- + didonai, to give; see dō- in Indo-European roots).]


a short usually amusing account of an incident, esp a personal or biographical one
[C17: from Medieval Latin anecdota unpublished items, from Greek anekdotos unpublished, from an- + ekdotos published, from ekdidonai, from ek- out + didonai to give]
ˌanecˈdotic adj
ˌanecˈdotalist, ˈanecˌdotist n


(ˈæn ɪkˌdoʊt)

a short account of an incident or event of an interesting or amusing nature, often biographical.
[1670–80; < New Latin anecdota or French anecdotes < Late Greek, Greek anékdota things unpublished]



chestnut An old, stale joke; a trite, oft-repeated tale or story. Although the exact origin of this term is unknown, one plausible explanation is that it comes from an old melodrama, The Broken Sword, by William Dillon. In the play, Captain Zavier is retelling, for the umpteenth time, a story having to do with a cork tree. His listener Pablo breaks in suddenly, correcting cork tree to chestnut tree, saying “I should know as well as you having heard you tell the tale these twenty-seven times.” The popularization of the term is attributed to the comedian William Warren, who had played the role of Pablo many times, and who is said to have repeated Pablo’s line about the chestnut in response to an unoriginal story told at a dinner party. The expression has been in use since 1883.

cock and bull story See NONSENSE.

fish story See EXAGGERATION.

Joe Miller A stale joke; a chestnut. In 1739 a man by the name of John Mot-tley put together a book of jests and called it Joe Miller’s Jest-Book, after the name of an illiterate comedian who lived 1684-1738. Current use of this name to describe an overused joke or saying implies that Mottley’s compilation was not very funny, and perhaps included jokes which were old even at that time.

Many of the anecdotes are mere Joe Millers. (Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character, 1870)

megillah A long, detailed explanation or account; a lengthy, often exaggerated story; frequently in the phrase the whole megillah. Megillah is Hebrew for ‘roll, scroll’ and commonly refers to any or all of a certain five books of the Old Testament to be read on specified feast days. The extraordinary length and tediousness of these readings gave rise to the slang sense of the term as it is popularly used outside of Judaism today.

Feeding all the megillah to the papers about his family of Irish Polacks who came over with the Pilgrim Fathers. (Punch, May, 1968)

old wives’ tale See SUPERSTITION.

shaggy dog story An involved, often seemingly interminable story that derives its humor from its unexpected, absurd, or punning ending; any joke or story involving a talking animal, especially a dog. This expression describes the wryly humorous stories which feature a shaggy dog as the main character or as the speaker of a surprise punch line. Though most popular in the 1940s, shaggy dog stories are still recounted in certain contemporary circles.

song and dance See EXAGGERATION.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.anecdote - short account of an incident (especially a biographical one)anecdote - short account of an incident (especially a biographical one)
report, account - the act of informing by verbal report; "he heard reports that they were causing trouble"; "by all accounts they were a happy couple"


noun story, tale, sketch, short story, yarn, reminiscence, urban myth, urban legend He has a talent for recollection and anecdote.


An entertaining and often oral account of a real or fictitious occurrence:
Informal: tall tale, yarn.
حِكايَة، نِادِرَة، مُلحه
anekdótaatvikssagaatvikssaga; stutt frásögnstutt frásögn
anekdotasjuokingas nutikimas


[ˈænɪkdəʊt] Nanécdota f


[ˈænɪkdəʊt] nanecdote f


nAnekdote f


[ˈænɪkdəʊt] naneddoto


(ˈӕnikdout) noun
a short amusing story, especially a true one. He told us anecdotes about politicians that he knew.
References in classic literature ?
Meantime, too, some of the enterprising humorists of the country had helped themselves to such parts of the work as served their needs, and many of its definitions, anecdotes, phrases and so forth, had become more or less current in popular speech.
Anecdotes of the Crow Indians.- Notorious Horse Stealers.- Some Account of Rose.- A Desperado of the Frontier.
Even for his classroom he had no platitudes, no stock of professorial anecdotes. When he was tired, his lectures were clouded, obscure, elliptical; but when he was interested they were wonderful.
He talked to her while he undressed, telling her anecdotes and bits of news and gossip that he had gathered during the day.
He told them a good many humorous anecdotes, and always forgot the nub, but they were always able to furnish it, for these yarns were of a pretty early vintage, and they had had many a rejuvenating pull at them before.
Of these gifted beings marvelous anecdotes are related, which are most potently believed by their fellow savages, and sometimes almost credited by the white hunters.
The papers revived all the old anecdotes in which the "sun of the wolves" played a part; they recalled the influences which the ignorance of past ages ascribed to her; in short, all America was seized with selenomania, or had become moon-mad.
He was thought witty, thanks to his foible for relating a quantity of anecdotes on the reign of Louis XV.
The place they had just been in called up so many recollections, and Kate had so many anecdotes of Madeline, and Nicholas so many anecdotes of Frank, and each was so interested in what the other said, and both were so happy and confiding, and had so much to talk about, that it was not until they had plunged for a full half-hour into that labyrinth of streets which lies between Seven Dials and Soho, without emerging into any large thoroughfare, that Nicholas began to think it just possible they might have lost their way.
Stepan Arkadyevitch's anecdote too was very amusing.
I had always responded to his efforts as well as I could, and felt a very deep and real kindness for him, too, for the reason that if by malice of fate he knew the one particular anecdote which I had heard oftenest and had most hated and most loathed all my life, he had at least spared it me.
Lady Catherine was generally speaking-- stating the mistakes of the three others, or relating some anecdote of herself.