Canterbury tale

variants: or Canterbury story

Definition of Canterbury tale

1 : a cock-and-bull story : yarn, fable a Canterbury tale of a leg and an eye and heaven knows what— George Colman †1794
2 : a long tedious tale it grows into a long Canterbury tale of two hours— Richard Steele

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History and Etymology for Canterbury tale

from The Canterbury Tales, literary work by Geoffrey Chaucer †1400 English poet, consisting mostly of narrative poems which he puts into the mouths of persons on a pilgrimage to Canterbury

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Cite this Entry

“Canterbury tale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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