AskDefine | Define chronicle

Dictionary Definition

chronicle n : a record or narrative description of past events; "a history of France"; "he gave an inaccurate account of the plot to kill the president"; "the story of exposure to lead" [syn: history, account, story] v : record in chronological order; make a historical record

User Contributed Dictionary

see Chronicles



chronica, from χρονικός < χρόνος


  1. A written account of events and when they happened, ordered by time.


a written account


  1. To record in or as in a chronicle.

Extensive Definition

Generally a chronicle (lang-la chronica, from Greek (from )) is a historical account of facts and events in chronological order. Typically, equal weight is given for important events and less important events, the purpose being the recording of events that occurred. This is in contrast to a narrative or history, which focuses on important events, sets them in a meaningful interpretive context and excludes those the author does not see as important.
Scholars categorize the genre of chronicle into two subgroups: live chronicles, and dead chronicles. A dead chronicle is one where the author gathers his list of events up to the time of his writing, but does not record further events as they occur. A live chronicle is where one or more authors add to a chronicle in a regular fashion, recording contemporary events shortly after they occur. Because of the immediacy of the information, historians tend to value live chronicles, such as annals, over dead ones.
"The chronicle is is one of the quintessentially Christian forms of historical writing," Michael Kulikowsky has remarked. "The ultimate goal of this exercise is usually to place the events of human history in the framework of Christian time, to record the annual stages by which human history marches towards the Second Coming" This makes the Christian chroniclers particularly awake to wars, plagues and disasters.
The term often refers to a book written by a chronicler in the Middle Ages describing historical events in a country, or the lives of a nobleman or a clergyman, although it is also applied to a record of public events. Various contemporary newspapers or other periodicals have adopted "chronicle" as part of their name. Various fictional stories have also adopted "chronicle" as part of their title, to give an impression of epic proportion to their stories.
A chronicle which traces world history is called a Universal chronicle.

Chronological narration

Chronicles, the predecessors of modern 'histories' were accounts, in prose or verse, of national or worldwide events over a considerable period of time. If the chronicles deal with events year by year, they are often called annals. Unlike the modern historian, most chroniclers tended to take their information as they found it, and made little attempt to separate fact from legend. The most important English chronicles are the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, started by King Alfred in the ninth century and continued until the twelfth century, and the Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (1577-87) by Raphael Holinshed and other writers; the latter documents were important sources of materials for Elizabethan drama.


See also

chronicle in Catalan: Crònica
chronicle in Czech: Kronika
chronicle in Danish: Krønike
chronicle in German: Chronik
chronicle in Estonian: Kroonika
chronicle in Spanish: Crónica
chronicle in Esperanto: Kroniko
chronicle in French: Chronique
chronicle in Galician: Crónica
chronicle in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Chronica
chronicle in Italian: Cronaca (genere letterario)
chronicle in Hungarian: Krónika
chronicle in Dutch: Kroniek
chronicle in Japanese: 年代記
chronicle in Norwegian: Krønike
chronicle in Polish: Kronika
chronicle in Portuguese: Crónica
chronicle in Romanian: Letopiseţ
chronicle in Slovak: Kronika (stredovek)
chronicle in Finnish: Kronikka
chronicle in Swedish: Krönika
chronicle in Turkish: Vakanüvis
chronicle in Ukrainian: Літописи
chronicle in Chinese: 编年体

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Clio, Muse of history, account, adventures, anecdotage, anecdote, annals, archive, autobiography, biograph, biographical sketch, biographize, biography, book, calendar, carve, case history, catalog, chalk, chalk up, check in, check sheet, chronicles, chronologize, chronology, clock card, confessions, correspondence, curriculum vitae, cut, date slip, datebook, daybook, describe, description, diary, docket, document, documentation, engrave, enroll, enscroll, enter, epic, epos, experiences, file, fill out, fortunes, grave, hagiography, hagiology, historify, historiography, history, impanel, incise, index, inscribe, insert, intercalate, inventory, jot down, journal, legend, letters, life, life and letters, life story, list, log, make a memorandum, make a note, make an entry, make out, mark down, martyrology, matriculate, memoir, memoirs, memorabilia, memorial, memorials, minute, narrate, narration, narrative, necrology, note, note down, obituary, photobiography, pipe roll, place upon record, poll, post, post up, profile, put down, put in writing, put on paper, put on tape, recital, record, recording, recount, recountal, reduce to writing, register, registry, relate, relic, remains, report, resume, retail, roll, rolls, roster, rota, saga, scroll, set down, story, table, tabulate, take down, tale, tape, tape-record, tell, theory of history, time book, time chart, time scale, time schedule, time sheet, time study, timecard, timetable, token, trace, version, vestige, videotape, write, write down, write in, write out, write up, yarn
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