1709, "ancient Scandinavian legend of considerable length," an antiquarians' revival to describe the medieval prose narratives of Iceland and Norway, from Old Norse saga "saga, story," cognate with Old English sagu "a saying" (see saw (n.2)).
Properly a long narrative composition of Iceland or Norway in the Middle Ages featuring heroic adventure and fantastic journeys, or one that has their characteristics. The extended meaning "long, convoluted story" is by 1857.
[proverb, saying, maxim], Middle English saue, at first in a general sense, "what is said, talk, words," from Old English sagu "saying, discourse, speech, study, tradition, tale," from Proto-Germanic *saga-, *sagon- (source also of Middle Low German, Middle Dutch sage, zage, German Sage "legend, fable, saga, myth, tradition," Old Norse saga "story, tale, saga"), from PIE root *sek(w)- "to say, utter" (see say (v.)).
The surviving specific sense of "proverb, saying, maxim" is by late 13c. "[A] contemptuous term for an expression that is more common than wise" [Century Dictionary].
late 14c., proheme "brief introduction, preface, prelude" (of a narrative, book, etc.), from Old French proheme (14c., Modern French proème), from Latin prooemium, from Greek prooimion "prelude," to anything, especially music and poetry, from pro "before" (see pro-) + oimē "song, chant, saga, tale," which perhaps is related to oimos "way." Related: Proemial.
[toothed cutting tool] Middle English saue, from Old English sagu, from Proto-Germanic *sago "a cutting tool" (source also of Old English seax "knife," Old Norse sög, Norwegian sag, Danish sav, Swedish såg, Middle Dutch saghe, Dutch zaag, Old High German saga, German Säge "saw"), from PIE root *sek- "to cut" (source also of Latin secare "to cut").
In reference to its use as a musical instrument, by 1905. Saw-grass, the long, toothed grass found in the Southern U.S., is attested by 1822. The saw-fly (1773), destructive to plants, is so called for the construction of the insect's egg-depositing organ.
c. 1600, "keenly perceptive, discerning," originally of persons in reference to the sense of smell," with -ous + stem of Latin sagax "of quick perception" (see sagacity). The sense of "skilled at discovering truths," especially as regards human natures, is by 1640s. It is not considered to be etymologically related to sage (adj.). Related: Sagaciously; sagaciousness.
"state or character of being keenly perceptive; acuteness of mental discernment," c. 1500, from French sagacité, from Latin sagacitatem (nominative sagacitas) "keenness of perception, quality of being acute," from sagax (genitive sagacis) "of quick perception, acute," related to sagus "prophetic," sagire "perceive keenly" (from PIE root *sag- "to track down, trace, seek;" source also of Old English secan "to seek;" see seek). Also used 17c.-18c. in reference to animals, with the meaning "acute sense of smell."
"king or chief among some Native American tribes," 1610s, sagamo, from Abenaki (Algonquian) zogemo "chief, ruler," which is distantly related to the source of sachem.
1830, from French mythe (1818) and directly from Modern Latin mythus, from Greek mythos "speech, thought, word, discourse, conversation; story, saga, tale, myth, anything delivered by word of mouth," a word of unknown origin. Beekes finds it "quite possibly Pre-Greek."
Myths are "stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial ... the result is religious legend, not myth." [J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254]
General sense of "untrue story, rumor, imaginary or fictitious object or individual" is from 1840.
"mound, hill, grave-mound," Old English beorg (West Saxon), berg (Anglian) "barrow, mountain, hill, mound," from Proto-Germanic *bergaz (source also of Middle Dutch berch, Old Saxon, Old High German berg "mountain," Old Frisian berch, birg "mountain, mountainous area," Old Norse bjarg "rock, mountain"), from PIE root *bhergh- (2) "high," with derivatives referring to hills and hill-forts.
Obsolete by c. 1400 except in place-names and southwest England dialect; revived by modern archaeology. Meaning "mound erected over a grave" was in late Old English. Barrow-wight first recorded 1869 in Eirikr Magnusson and William Morris's translation of the Icelandic saga of Grettir the Strong.
In place-names used of small continuously curving hills, smaller than a dun, with the summit typically occupied by a single farmstead or by a village church with the village beside the hill, and also of burial mounds. [Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names]