1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Anecdote

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ANECDOTE (from ἀν-, privative, and ἐκδίδωμι, to give out or publish), a word originally meaning something not published. It has now two distinct significations. The primary one is something not published, in which sense it has been used to denote either secret histories—Procopius, e.g., gives this as one of the titles of his secret history of Justinian’s court—or portions of ancient writers which have remained long in manuscript and are edited for the first time. Of such anecdota there are many collections; the earliest was probably L. A. Muratori’s, in 1709. In the more general and popular acceptation of the word, however, anecdotes are short accounts of detached interesting particulars. Of such anecdotes the collections are almost infinite; the best in many respects is that compiled by T. Byerley (d. 1826) and J. Clinton Robertson (d. 1852), known as the Percy Anecdotes (1820–1823).