a short account of a particular incident or event, especially of an interesting or amusing nature.
a short, obscure historical or biographical account.
Origin: 1670–80; < Neo-Latinanecdota or Frenchanecdotes < Late Greek,Greekanékdota things unpublished (referring especially to Procopius' unpublished memoirs of Justinian and Theodora), neuter plural of anékdotos, equivalent to an-an-1 + ékdotos given out, verbal adjective of ekdidónai to give out, publish (ek-ec- + didónai to give)
1670s, "secret or private stories," from Fr., from Gk. anekdota "things unpublished," neut. pl. of anekdotos, from an- "not" + ekdotos "published," from ek- "out" + didonai "to give" (see date (1)). Procopius' 6c. Anecdota, unpublished memoirs of Emperor Justinian full of court
gossip, gave the word a sense of "revelation of secrets," which decayed in Eng. to "brief, amusing stories" (1761). Related: Anecdotal (1836). Anecdotage "garrulous old age" is a jocular formation of De Quincey's from 1823.