"tell or recite in detail, relate the particulars or incidents of," 1748, a back-formation from narration or else from Latin narratus, past participle of narrare "to tell, relate, recount," from PIE root *gno- "to know." "Richardson and Johnson call it Scottish" [OED], a stigma which kept it from general use until 19c. A few mid-17c. instances are traceable to Spanish narrar. Related: Narrated; narrating.