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(ăn`ĭkdōt'), brief narrative of a particular incident. An anecdote differs from a short storyshort story,
brief prose fiction. The term covers a wide variety of narratives—from stories in which the main focus is on the course of events to studies of character, from the "short short" story to extended and complex narratives such as Thomas Mann's Death in Venice.
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 in that it is unified in time and space, is uncomplicated, and deals with a single episode. The literal Greek meaning of the word is "not published," and it still retains some such sense of confidentiality. Sometimes an anecdote is inserted into a novel as an interval in the main plot, as in Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Famous books of anecdotes include the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus and Plutarch's Lives.



a brief story about some insignificant but characteristic event drawn from the life of a historical personage. In modern word usage (from the middle of the 19th century) an anecdote also refers to a short, oral, humorous story with an unexpected and witty ending.

In the first sense of the term, “anecdote” was used in conjunction with the satirical Secret History by Procopius of Caesarea. Later the term “anecdote” began to be applied to minor narrative genres of a comic nature, often with a sharp political content. In West European literature, for instance, the fabliau and the facetiae developed especially during the Renaissance—for example, Poggio Bracciolini’s Facetiae. In Russia the anecdote first became widespread in the second half of the 18th century (the collections of N. Kurganov, P. Semenov, and others). The anecdote has become widespread in modern urban folklore.


Maslova, E. “K istorii anekdoticheskoi literatury XVIII v.” In Sbornik statei ν chest’ akademika A. 1. Sobolevskogo. (Sb. otd. rus. iaz. i slovesnosti AN SSSR, vol. 101, no. 3.) Leningrad, 1928.
References in periodicals archive ?
Lunansky and her title, "How to Teach Your Kids to Swear: an anecdotal guide to alternative parental submonitions" write to special_markets@donnaink.
Atlanta complements its formal assessments with anecdotal staff notes and student portfolios.
Some of the anecdotal material is downright entertaining.
The study places numbers and facts behind what has previously been anecdotal evidence, and as such, is an important first step toward improving prevailing conditions.
In each title, author Greg Brown teams up with a particular sports star to tell an anecdotal style life story that will engage a young readers total attention from first page to last.
Nenette Kress, senior vice president and Segal's National Communications Practice leader, who directed the survey, said: "The responses indicate that most companies have no measurement processes in place and rely largely on anecdotal evidence.
Beryl Maile gave an anecdotal talk at the Sketchley Grange Hotel, in Burbage near Hinckley, as guests enjoyed a slap-up four-course meal.
However, in some chapters the authors have drawn excessively on anecdotal and dated research thus leaving parts of their argument on shaky ground.
Powell intertwines anecdotal information about his life experiences throughout the book.
There have been anecdotal reports of dentists and physicians being sued by women who became pregnant while on antibiotic therapy.
However, AIDS Treatment News has heard anecdotal reports of relief with Voltaren Emulgel, an NSAID in a topical formulation.
On the contrary, there is anecdotal evidence from the private conversations of many bishops, that Pope John Paul II is pleased with the spiritual fruits of Medjugorje and that the only reason why he--personally--has not visited the shrine is because of his official position as head of the Church.