myth

noun
\ ˈmith How to pronounce myth (audio) \

Definition of myth

1a : a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon creation myths
b : parable, allegory Moral responsibility is the motif of Plato's myths.
2a : a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone especially : one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society seduced by the American myth of individualism — Orde Coombs the utopian myth of a perfect society
b : an unfounded or false notion the myth of racial superiority
3 : a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence the Superman myth The unicorn is a myth.
4 : the whole body of myths a student of Greek myth

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Synonyms for myth

Synonyms

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Myth and Urban Myth

For a word so often applied to events or stories from long, long ago, myth has a remarkably recent history in the English language. The earliest evidence for the word is from 1830, well after the time when the events themselves are thought to have occurred (though it should be noted that the related words mythology and mythic are hundreds of years older – still not as old as Achilles, but not young, either!). One application of myth, however – in the phrase urban myth – is quite new. Curiously, an urban myth does not usually have anything to do with the city: it is simply “a story about an unusual event or occurrence that many people believe is true but that is not true.” An example would be the tale that Elvis Presley is still alive after spending decades in a witness protection program. The phrase urban myth has been used to describe such hoaxes since at least 1971.

Examples of myth in a Sentence

It's an enduring myth that money brings happiness. I don't believe the myths and legends about this forest. Contrary to popular myth, no monster lives in this lake.
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Recent Examples on the Web The notion that wolves howl at the moon is a myth, though. Washington Post, "Rescued wolves have a safe space in the Pennsylvania woods," 4 Feb. 2020 But as officials learn about the virus, some odd internet searches and myths have popped up. oregonlive, "No, not like the beer: As coronavirus spreads, people mistakenly think it’s related to the beverage," 29 Jan. 2020 Dracula may be a myth, but everyone knows a Colin Robinson. Judy Berman, Time, "The Best New TV Characters of 2019," 6 Dec. 2019 Working out your pet's age in 'dog years' simply by multiplying it by seven is actually a myth. Fox News, "Your dog’s real age in ‘dog years’ revealed (and it’s not their age multiplied by seven)," 19 Nov. 2019 There is, however, a myth that the mountain has been known to swallow people whole from time to time. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Swimming in Darkness' Draws From an Architectural Wonder," 31 Oct. 2019 But like poison and razor blades, Halloween pot candy is largely a myth. BostonGlobe.com, "Here’s why Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians - The Boston Globe," 29 Oct. 2019 But like poison and razor blades, Halloween pot candy is largely a myth. Christopher Ingraham, chicagotribune.com, "Here’s why Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians," 28 Oct. 2019 But like poison and razor blades, Halloween pot candy is largely a myth. al, "Halloween is the deadliest day for kids walking in the road," 28 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'myth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of myth

1830, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for myth

earlier mythos, mythus, borrowed from Greek mŷthos "utterance, speech, discourse, tale, narrative, fiction, legend," of obscure origin

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Statistics for myth

Last Updated

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Myth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Myths. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for myth

myth

noun
How to pronounce myth (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of myth

: an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true
: a story that was told in an ancient culture to explain a practice, belief, or natural occurrence
: such stories as a group

myth

noun
\ ˈmith How to pronounce myth (audio) \

Kids Definition of myth

1 : a story often describing the adventures of beings with more than human powers that attempts to explain mysterious events (as the changing of the seasons) or that explains a religious belief or practice
2 : such stories as a group
3 : a person or thing existing only in the imagination The dragon is a myth.
4 : a popular belief that is not true It's just a myth that money can buy happiness.

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More from Merriam-Webster on myth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for myth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with myth

Spanish Central: Translation of myth

Nglish: Translation of myth for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of myth for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about myth

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