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What does the word saga mean in the following passage? Can we use any other word for it?

Toyota said it was recalling just under five million cars, including the Corolla, Vitz and other models made between March 2003 and November 2007. Nissan is recalling about 1.56 million cars over the same issue. Both carmakers said the recall was for investigative purposes and no accidents or injuries have been reported. Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker, said the recall affected 35 of its models made around the world and that it would include 1.36 million cars in Japan. The move is the latest in the saga of potentially exploding airbags made by Japanese car parts maker Takata that has been linked to at least six deaths - all in Honda cars

Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker, said the recall affected 35 of its models made around the world and that it would include 1.36 million cars in Japan. The move is the latest in the saga of potentially exploding airbags made by Japanese car parts maker Takata that has been linked to at least six deaths - all in Honda cars.

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    A saga has come to mean merely a long story full of episodes. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 13 '15 at 10:48
  • @TRomano Thanks.I am not quite sure I get it.Can we replace it with the word story in this context ? Btw can we use the word string also? " The move is the latest string of potentially exploding airbags made by..." – Mrt May 13 '15 at 11:02
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    the latest in a string of episodes involving exploding airbags would work, but "the latest in a string of exploding airbags" not so much. "Saga" as used here connotes one unhappy or unlucky event after another, in a way that "story" does not. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 13 '15 at 11:10
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    I don't think saga always has a connotation of unhappy events. It does certainly convey a series of connected stories. – MrTheWalrus May 13 '15 at 18:17
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    @MrTheWalrus Agreed, a saga would be dramatic, but not necessarily unhappy. – Jason Patterson May 13 '15 at 20:32
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Q: What does the word saga mean (in the following passage)?

A: The basic sense of saga is a "long" story. Here are its definitions by Macmillan (sense 2 is applicable to our excerpt):

saga
noun [countable]
1. a story about what happens to a group of characters over a long period of time
​  a Civil War saga starring Clark Gable
2. informal a long series of events, or a description of them
​  Have you heard the saga of our roof repairs?
3. a long story written in Norway or Iceland during the Middle Ages


Q: Can we use any other word for it?

A: You can try synonyms of saga, but first let's consider the sentence:

The move is the latest in the saga of potentially exploding airbags made by Japanese car parts maker Takata that has been linked to at least six deaths ...

According to the excerpt, it's about the cars made between 2003 and 2007, so it's fair to assume that the "potentially exploding airbags" that "has been linked to at least six deaths" are six different incidents happened in six different occasions, thus the word saga. In my opinion, you can use a long series of incidents for this saga in this excerpt. If that's a bit too wordy for you, you can use something simpler such as a long record, a long history, or just simply a long story.

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