narrative

A narrative is a story that you write or tell to someone, usually in great detail. A narrative can be a work of poetry or prose, or even song, theater, or dance.

Often a narrative is meant to include the "whole story." A summary will give a few key details and then the narrative will delve into the details. "I hate to interrupt your narrative," is a polite way of stopping someone in the middle of a story. The origin of this noun is the Latin adjective narrativus, from narrare "to tell," from gnarus "knowing." It is related to our English verb know.

Definitions of narrative
  1. noun
    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”
    synonyms: narration, story, tale
    see moresee less
    examples:
    Canterbury Tales
    an uncompleted series of tales written after 1387 by Geoffrey Chaucer
    Arabian Nights' Entertainment
    a collection of folktales in Arabic dating from the 10th century
    types:
    show 6 types...
    hide 6 types...
    tearjerker
    an excessively sentimental narrative
    tall tale
    an improbable (unusual or incredible or fanciful) story
    folk tale, folktale
    a tale circulated by word of mouth among the common folk
    sob story, sob stuff
    a sentimental story (or drama) of personal distress; designed to arouse sympathy
    fairy story, fairy tale, fairytale
    a story about fairies; told to amuse children
    nursery rhyme
    a tale in rhymed verse for children
    type of:
    content, message, subject matter, substance
    what a communication that is about something is about
  2. adjective
    consisting of or characterized by the telling of a story
    narrative poetry”
    Synonyms:
    communicative, communicatory
    able or tending to communicate
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week