Definition of narrative in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnerədiv/


1A spoken or written account of connected events; a story: the hero of his modest narrative
More example sentences
  • These were Maori narratives written and read from the position of living in a European country.
  • Their narratives were accounts of how a democratic state had been achieved.
  • Many narratives have also been written in more conventional language and forms by Aboriginal authors.
account, chronicle, history, description, record, report, story
1.1The narrated part or parts of a literary work, as distinct from dialogue.
Example sentences
  • These struggles were only the beginning, as similar feelings about dialogue and narrative nagged the back of my mind.
  • It spools out and out of my mouth, narrative, dialogue and commentary.
  • I was brought in to, essentially, write some voice-over dialogue and narrative for it, to buttress the story.
1.2The practice or art of telling stories: traditions of oral narrative
More example sentences
  • The short story cycle looks back to oral traditions of narrative while embodying signs of modernity.
  • It didn't just object to certain kinds of story, but to narrative in general as a promoter of illusion.
  • In the realm of mythic narrative, the same stories keep getting reincarnated.
1.3A representation of a particular situation or process in such a way as to reflect or conform to an overarching set of aims or values: the coalition’s carefully constructed narrative about its sensitivity to recession victims
More example sentences
  • The bigger picture, however, is of a prime minister and a government that want to be more self-confident but are frustrated at the failure of their 'narrative' to find a more receptive audience.
  • Such expectations may have been unrealistic, but it was part of an overall narrative about the Liberal Democrat path to government which depended not only on Liberal Democrat progress, but also Conservative decline.
  • Labour needs to find a new narrative. And the Conservatives must stick to their story.


In the form of or concerned with narration: a narrative poem narrative technique
More example sentences
  • But that would have been owed to his two great narrative poems, rather than his plays.
  • I would have probably continued reading this for the narrative techniques.
  • But that would have been owed to his two great narrative poems, rather than his plays.



Example sentences
  • The play is based on narratively coherent stories, but the language is like a dream and half-invented, so the audience has to do a lot of piecing together for themselves.
  • How did television, then, in its liminal position on the borders of the home, narratively organize the spatial boundaries of inside and outside, local and global?
  • The severely under-lit, narratively incomprehensible, and primitively directed syrup-soaked piece of trash is so bad it's sweet.


Late Middle English (as an adjective): from French narratif, -ive, from late Latin narrativus 'telling a story', from the verb narrare (see narrate).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: nar·ra·tive

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