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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a lyric/narrative/epic etc poem (=a poem in a particular style)
▪ the epic Greek poem, The Odyssey
▪ For the grand narrative of History was always too big for its boots.
▪ But was the grand narrative of modern art ever so oppressive?
▪ For him the Bible was a precise historical narrative from which all lessons of conduct could be drawn.
▪ The civil zone still poses many difficult problems of chronology in the framework of what is known of the historical narrative.
▪ Like most modern literature, the new narrative reflects the ontological uncertainty of contemporary man.
▪ The new narrative itself falls into at least two phases.
▪ As the two narratives progress, the connections become evident.
▪ A narrative as a unit is a narrative sequencing which allows the listening to infer temporal order.
▪ A fully formed narrative realises all six categories, although many narratives may lack one or more components.
▪ And if the figures' location is often nebulous, so are the suggested narratives gripping these people.
▪ I ask myself what happened next and if it is significant to the narrative.
▪ If the narrative is to be presented relatively rapidly, then brevity must be a feature of the style expected.
▪ The plot, a dense swirl of memory and intermingled narratives, works like a spell.
▪ Using family and friends as models, the painter composes narratives about birth and death, life and religion.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Narrative \Nar"ra*tive\, a. [Cf. F. narratif.]

  1. Of or pertaining to narration; relating to the particulars of an event or transaction.

  2. Apt or inclined to relate stories, or to tell particulars of events; story-telling; garrulous.

    But wise through time, and narrative with age.


Narrative \Nar"ra*tive\, n. That which is narrated; the recital of a story; a continuous account of the particulars of an event or transaction; a story.

Cyntio was much taken with my narrative.

Syn: Account; recital; rehearsal; relation; narration; story; tale. See Account.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

mid-15c., from Middle French narratif, from Late Latin narrativus "suited to narration," from Latin narrat-, stem of narrare (see narration).


"a tale, story," 1560s, from Middle French narrative and from narrative (adj.).


a. 1 Telling a story. 2 Overly talkative; garrulous. 3 Of or relating to narration. n. 1 The systematic recitation of an event or series of events. 2 That which is narrated. 3 A representation of an event or story.

  1. adj. consisting of or characterized by the telling of a story; "narrative poetry"

  2. n. a message that tells the particulars of an act or occurrence or course of events; presented in writing or drama or cinema or as a radio or television program; "his narrative was interesting"; "Disney's stories entertain adults as well as children" [syn: narration, story, tale]


A narrative or story is any report of connected events, real or imaginary, presented in a sequence of written or spoken words, and/or still or moving images.

Narrative can be organized in a number of thematic and/or formal categories: non-fiction (such as definitively including creative non-fiction, biography, journalism, transcript poetry, and historiography); fictionalization of historical events (such as anecdote, myth, legend, and historical fiction); and fiction proper (such as literature in prose and sometimes poetry, such as short stories, novels, and narrative poems and songs, and imaginary narratives as portrayed in other textual forms, games, or live or recorded performances). Narrative is found in all forms of human creativity, art, and entertainment, including speech, literature, theatre, music and song, comics, journalism, film, television and video, radio, gameplay, unstructured recreation, and performance in general, as well as some painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, and other visual arts (though several modern art movements refuse the narrative in favor of the abstract and conceptual), as long as a sequence of events is presented. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to tell", which is derived from the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled".

Oral storytelling is perhaps the earliest method for sharing narratives. During most people's childhoods, narratives are used to guide them on proper behavior, cultural history, formation of a communal identity, and values, as especially studied in anthropology today among traditional indigenous peoples. Narratives may also be nested within other narratives, such as narratives told by an unreliable narrator (a character) typically found in noir fiction genre. An important part of narration is the narrative mode, the set of methods used to communicate the narrative through a process narration (see also "Narrative Aesthetics" below).

Along with exposition, argumentation, and description, narration, broadly defined, is one of four rhetorical modes of discourse. More narrowly defined, it is the fiction-writing mode in which the narrator communicates directly to the reader.

Usage examples of "narrative".

I have expiated with pleasure on the first steps of the crusaders, as they paint the manners and character of Europe: but I shall abridge the tedious and uniform narrative of their blind achievements, which were performed by strength and are described by ignorance.

They appeal with confidence to the Persian history of Sherefeddin Ali, which has been given to our curiosity in a French version, and from which I shall collect and abridge a more specious narrative of this memorable transaction.

Lenfant has abridged and compared the original narratives of the adherents of Urban and Clement, of the Italians and Germans, the French and Spaniards.

The St Vaast Annals cease about 900, and the monk of Reims, Flodoard, does not begin his narrative until some twenty years later.

Fictional apocryphal accounts from the second century contain all kinds of flowery narratives, in which Jesus comes out of the tomb in glory and power, with everybody seeing him, including the priests, Jewish authorities, and Roman guards.

A fabulous narrative is introduced here, that, when the king of the Veientians was offering sacrifice, the voice of the aruspex, declaring that the victory was given to him who should cut up the entrails of that victim, having been heard in the mine, incited the Roman soldiers to burst open the mine, carry off the entrails, and bring them to the dictator.

No doubt the charts were those of the austral latitudes, and the books were narratives of the precursors of the Jane in those mysterious regions of the south.

The first-person author acknowledges the lack of narrative completeness, while the plural pronoun immediately following suggests authorial objectivity and stature.

The experiencing self in his autobiographical narrative is disciplined by an overarching intelligence that keeps directing the storytelling toward the pole of analysis.

Morgan could decipher the gestures sufficiently to understand at which points in the narrative the boojum arrived in orbit around Kirsi, destroyed that world, and then advanced on the Almiran fighters.

It is Bouchet in his seventeenth-century narrative who invents the circumstantial account of the proceeding.

A day or two after Myrtle Hazard returned to the village, Master Byles Gridley, accompanied by Gifted Hopkins, followed her, as has been already mentioned, to the same scene of the principal events of this narrative.

Mimesis and diegesis need each other, and often work together so that the join between them can be difficult to discern exactly, but it is easy to see how fundamental they are as the building blocks of narrative.

Even his narrative must be full of epigrams to avoid the one deadly sin of dulness, and his language must be decorous even at the price of being sometimes emasculated.

SEVERAL times in the course of this narrative I have hinted at an idea corresponding to the above French heading, and now feel it incumbent upon me to devote a whole chapter to that idea, which was one of the most ruinous, lying notions which ever became engrafted upon my life by my upbringing and social milieu.