The word anecdote, essentially defined as "a funny little story you tell to break that awkward silence", has fascinating origins and a surprising change of definition. The farthest back it can be traced is to Proto-Indo-European do, or "to give". This roughly transitioned into Ancient Greek as didonai, still meaning "to give". In a conjugated form this could be written as dotos. The Greeks then tacked on two more things, their word ek, meaning "out", and the prefix an-, meaning "not". And so the word anekdotos was created, literally meaning "not give out" but taking on a definition in literary terms, "not publishing" a book or work. This later passed into French, with Medieval Latin influences, as anecdote, "a collection of secret or private stories," a momentous change in the word's history, though the transition is understandable. Later, as the word became English, anecdote was still a private story, but no longer secret.
Adam Aleksic is a 216-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, and law. Adam is anxiously awaiting his rejections from 11 colleges and loves writing about himself in the third person.
The Etymology Nerd