storysto‧ry /ˈstɔːri/ ●●●S1W1 noun (plural stories) [countable]1for entertainmentSTORY a description of how something happened, that is intended to entertain people, and may be true or imaginary → talestory about/ofa story about a princessfairy/ghost/love etc storya detective storytell/read somebody a storyMommy, will you read me a story?a book of short storiesWe cuddled together over a bedtime story.The film was based on a true story.Don’t be frightened – it’s only a story (=it is imaginary).2newsSUCCESSFUL a report in a newspaper or newsbroadcast about a recent event, or something that is reported ona front-page story‘The Observer’ ran a story about the scandal (=printed it).cover story (=the main story in a magazine, which is about the picture on the cover)3eventsREASON an account of something that has happened, usually one that people tell each other, and which may not be trueThe full story of what happened has never been reported.Her parents did not believe her story.First, he wanted to hear Matthew’s side of the story (=his description of what happened).He was having an affair with Julie, or so the story goes (=people are saying this).4excuse an excuse or explanation, especially one that you have inventedWhere were you? And don’t give me some story about working late!Well, that’s my story (=that is what I say happened), and I’m sticking to it.5historySTORY a description of the most important events in someone’s life or in the development of somethingthe Charlie Parker StoryHe wanted to have his life story told on film.6building American English a floor or level of a building syn storey British Englisha 50-story building7of a film/play etcA what happens in a film, play, or book syn plotThe story is similar in all her books.8 →it’s the same story here/there/in ...SPOKEN PHRASES9 →it’s the same old story10 →it’s a long story11 →to cut a long story short12 →but that’s another story13 →that’s not the whole story14 →that’s the story of my life15 →end of story16 →it’s a different story17lieLIE/TELL A LIE a lie – used by children or when speaking to children syn taleYou shouldn’t tell stories. →short story, → cock and bull storyat cock1(4), → hard-luck story, sob story, → success storyat success(5)COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 1: a description of how something happened, that is intended to entertain people, and may be true or imaginaryADJECTIVES/NOUN + storya true story‘Schindler’s List’ tells the true story of Oskar Schindler.a classic story (=old and admired by many people, or typical and good )a classic story about a little girl who falls down a rabbit hole a short storyHe has published two collections of short stories.a children’s storyEnid Blyton is famous for writing children’s stories.a love story‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a classic love story.a fairy story (=a children’s story in which magical things happen)She looked like a princess in a fairy story.an adventure storyan exciting adventure story for childrena detective storyMost detective stories are about a murder.a ghost/horror storyThey sat round the fire telling ghost stories.She likes reading horror stories.a bedtime story (=one that you read to a child before they go to sleep)He remembered his mother reading him a bedtime story.verbstell (somebody) a storyWould you like me to tell you a story?read (somebody) a storyShe read a lot of detective stories.write a storyThe story was written by Lewis Carroll.COMMON ERRORS ► Don’t say ‘say (somebody) a story’. Say tell (somebody) a story.THESAURUSstory a description of how something happened that is intended to entertain people, and may be true or imaginarya ghost storya love storyIt’s a story about a man who loses his memory.a book of short storiestale a story about strange imaginary events, or exciting events that happened in the past a fairy tale by Hans Christian AndersenI loved hearing tales of his travels.myth noun [countable, uncountable] a very old imaginary story about gods and magicalcreaturesan ancient mythGreek and Roman mythslegend noun [countable, uncountable] an old story about brave people or magical events that are probably not truepopular legends of the creation of the worldAccording to legend, King Arthur was buried there.fable a traditional imaginary short story that teaches a morallesson, especially a story about animalsthe fable of the tortoise and the harea Chinese fableepic a story told in a long book, film, or poem which is about great or exciting events, especially in historyan epic about 13th-century Scottish hero William Wallacesaga a story about a series of events that take place over a long period of time, especially events involving one familya family saga beginning in the 1880syarn informal a long exciting story that is not completely trueThe movie’s a rattling good yarn and full of action.COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: a report in a newspaper or news broadcast about a recent event, or something that is reported onADJECTIVES/NOUN + storya big story (=a report about something important)He had promised the newspaper a big story on a major celebrity.the lead/top story (=the most important story in a newspaper or news programme)The floods were the lead story on the news that evening.a front-page storyThe Times published a front-page story about the scandal. a cover story (=the main story in a magazine, mentioned on the cover)Hello magazine did a cover story on her last year.verbsdo a story (=write and then print or broadcast it)I went to Iraq to do a story on the war.print/publish a storyThe News of the World decided not to print the story.run a story (=print it or broadcast it)There wasn’t enough definite information to run the story.cover a story (=report on it)Her family complained about the way that journalists had covered the story.break a story (=report on it for the first time)The Daily Mail was the paper which broke the story.leak a story (=secretly tell a reporter about it)We may never know who leaked the story to the press.a story breaks (=it is reported for the first time)I still remember the shock when that story broke.COLLOCATIONS – Meanings 3 & 4verbstell (somebody) a story (also recount/relate a story formal)I’d better tell you the whole story from the beginning.He laughed as he recounted the story.give (somebody) a storyI had the feeling that she wasn’t giving me the full story.hear a story (also listen to a story)I’ve heard that story a hundred times.make up/invent a storyShe confessed to making up the story of being abducted.stick to your story (=keep saying it is true)He didn’t believe her at first, but she stuck to her story.change your storyDuring police interviews, Harper changed his story several times.believe a storyThe jury did not believe Evans’s story.swap stories (=tell each other stories)They swapped stories and shared their experiences.the story goes (=this is what is people say happened)The story goes that he was drowned off the south coast, but not everyone believed it.a story goes around (=people tell it to each other)A story went around that she had been having an affair.adjectivesthe full/whole storyI did not know the full story.a plausible/convincing storyShe tried to think up a convincing story to tell her parents.a remarkable storyThe film tells the remarkable story of their escape from a prison camp.an apocryphal story (=one that is well-known but probably not true)There are many apocryphal stories about him.the inside story (=including facts that are known only to people involved)Though I’d seen the official report, I wanted the inside story.phrasessomebody’s side of the story (=someone’s account of what happened, which may be different from someone else’s)I would like to give my side of the story.
Examples from the Corpus
story• Don't be frightened, Connie - it's only a story.• Sally, will you read us a story?• The show-biz story of the decade has spawned the cinematic train wreck of 1996.• The best known of them was Dornford Yates, author of the now unreadable but once hugely read Berry and Co stories.• He looked like some giant from a fairystory.• a fifthstoryapartment• a headline-grabbingstory• Markoff counters that his stories are accurate and fair.• All children love stories.• The main storytonight is the earthquake in Albania.• He now had carte blanche to pursue any majorstory in town and to inject his strong opinions unabashedly into his writings.• There have been a lot of stories in the papers recently about contaminated food.• a book of short stories• Have you been telling stories again?• Besides, neither of us has enough money to gainentry to that story.• But it is considerably worse than that, as the story quickly makes clear.• He went out and Sisteradmission-ward came in for a short while, and we reconstructed the story.• Genesis and Deuteronomy tell the story in a style that will be accessible to any reader.• The movie tells the story of a young girl brought up in the DeepSouth in the 1930s.• The film was OK, but I didn't think the story was very realistic.• The story doesn't get interestingtillmidway through.• The story I read in the newspaper said they intend to close the theatre down.• the story of dancer Alvin Ailey• The film is based on a true story.• The movie is based on a true story.• Grandpa's always telling us stories about when he was a boy• There are a lot of wildstories going around.story about/of• It's a story aboutfriendship and courage.• A contemporarystory ofmystery and romanticsuspense of a woman who returns home to die and ends up learning to love.• Then sell the whole caboodle to the nationals-including, if you choose, a fakestory of attack.• Civilization is in fact the longest story of all.• The moral of this tale you can carry away at the end of my story of two Corbetts.• Babur doesn't know quite why, but the story of Stuart speaks to him quite directly.• When the story of his affair first broke in July, there was even sympathy in Toryranks.• Wait till I tell you the story of my life.• the story of "Snow White"ran ... story• "The Chronicle" ran a three-page story on the flood.• Shortly after the conviction of the accusedbombers, Al Hayat ran a story raising questions about the fairness of the trial.• In March 1998 little girls' mag Mizz ran a story on ` SuperSlobs'.• The copyrightdisputes were brought to public attention when the Registerran a storydetailing Mr Millington's plight.full story• The palaeontologist is like a detective trying to reconstruct a full story from a few fragmentaryclues.• For the best-managed banks can only gain by telling a fuller story.• That is why some reporters will go to greater lengths to look good than to get the full story.• But at the Goodwood ParkHotel, beautiful rooms are hardly the full story.• But there was no use brooding on it: the full story would never be known now.• No doubt some of them were rather on the dreary side but that is not the full story by any means.• Fifi tells us the full story of Manuel Gustavo.• The full story of the dismissals was told to Fong by Margerine.life story• Often families, like the patients, floundered in their efforts to adapt to new roles and changed life stories.• And then he poured out his entirelife story.• When you meet someone for the first time, they don't want your entire life story in detail.• His platform is his life story and his political career.• The newspaper has been running his life story for the past two weeks.• And I realized some songs were more important in paralleling my life story than I thought they were.• We shared our battles and our triumphs through our life stories.• Weeklybudgets don't tell life stories.• This is the time to make up for the imprecision of the life story in Step 1.• This is an epic of Oprah's age, with an engagingheroine whose life story is well-made, but essentially insignificant.tell stories• In the Collins family, Kevin was not actually told stories about how he, too, was a good listener.• We were taken on naturehikes and told stories as we sat by campfires.• We danced, we drank, we lay on the beachtelling stories.• I also rely on a few strategies to nudge my children into telling stories of their days.• He is a big, thick, lonely man about whom people tell stories.• Their friends still tell stories about their romance.• They tell stories that other people told them.• To tell stories so that those who came after them would remember and be strong.