fable

noun
fa·​ble | \ ˈfā-bəl How to pronounce fable (audio) \

Definition of fable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a fictitious narrative or statement: such as
a : a legendary story of supernatural happenings Minerva is in fables said, from Jove without a mother to proceed— Sir John Davies
b : a narration intended to enforce a useful truth especially : one in which animals speak and act like human beings The theme of the fable was the folly of human vanity.
c : falsehood, lie The story that he won the battle single-handedly is a mere fable.

fable

verb
fabled; fabling\ ˈfā-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce fabling (audio) \

Definition of fable (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

archaic : to tell fables

transitive verb

: to talk or write about as if true

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Other Words from fable

Verb

fabler \ ˈfā-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce fabler (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for fable

Synonyms: Noun

allegory, apologue, parable

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Examples of fable in a Sentence

Noun

a fable about busy ants The story that he won the battle single-handedly is a mere fable. He combines fact and fable to make a more interesting story.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Directed by the sardonic Greek Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) and boasting crackerjack performances by its three female leads (Colman is indelible), this gleefully nasty fable offers comedy as black as a dungeon. John Powers, Vogue, "These Were 2018’s 12 Best Movies," 12 Dec. 2018 What ensues is a hilarious blend of classic fables and modern-day criminal procedure, with many of the WCJC students tackling several roles - some of which require a flip-flop of traditional gender. Houston Chronicle, "Wharton County Junior College Drama Department’s annual children’s production a comedy for all ages," 24 Apr. 2018 The bulk of the action is a longtime favorite fable an elderly man (Peter Falk) is reading to his grandson (Fred Savage), who starts out as a reluctant listener but gradually gets into the story. Verge Staff, The Verge, "The Verge’s guide to tolerable family streaming entertainment," 21 Nov. 2018 Like the boiling frog fable, ISPs are likely to move slowly to minimize consumer backlash and negative media coverage. Karl Bode, The Verge, "How the new AT&T could bully its way to streaming domination," 18 Dec. 2018 And the many people who learned about responsibility, duty, empathy, kindness, and selflessness from Lee’s plethora of heroes and fables wouldn’t be the same either. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Stan Lee, the godfather of Marvel comics, dies at 95," 12 Nov. 2018 The production is intended as a fable of self-acceptance and non-conformity — not to mention, extreme physical fun versus passive digital addiction. Misha Berson, The Seattle Times, "In Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Volta,’ acro-bicyclists soar and an aerialist hovers in the air by her hair," 18 Sep. 2018 There were, perhaps inevitably, copies of Lost Horizon lying around the hotel, and in the Shangri-La of that fable the inhabitants of the imaginary valley never grow old, or even ugly. Lawrence Osborne, Town & Country, "Why Everyone Is Traveling to Bhutan," 30 Mar. 2015 Pinker cites an old Soviet fable — in which one peasant establishes equality with another by killing the other’s goat — to argue that promoting equality might harm those at the top rather help those at the bottom. David Lay Williams, Washington Post, "What Steven Pinker gets wrong about economic inequality — and the Enlightenment," 11 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fable.' 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 fable

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for fable

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin fābula "talk, gossip, account, tale, legend," from fā-, stem of for, fārī "to speak, say" + -bula, feminine derivative of -bulum, instrumental suffix (going back to Indo-European *-dhlom) — more at ban entry 1

Verb

Middle English fablen, borrowed from Anglo-French fabler, fableier, going back to Latin fābulārī "to talk, converse, invent a story," verbal derivative of fābula "talk, account, fable entry 1"

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Dictionary Entries near fable

fabiform

Fabiola

Fabius

fable

fabled

fableist

fabliau

Statistics for fable

Last Updated

27 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fable

The first known use of fable was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for fable

fable

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fable

: a short story that usually is about animals and that is intended to teach a lesson
: a story or statement that is not true

fable

noun
fa·​ble | \ ˈfā-bəl How to pronounce fable (audio) \

Kids Definition of fable

1 : a story that is not true
2 : a story in which animals speak and act like people and which is usually meant to teach a lesson

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More from Merriam-Webster on fable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fable

Spanish Central: Translation of fable

Nglish: Translation of fable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fable for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fable

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