\ˈfer-ē-ˌtāl \

Definition of fairy-tale 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: characteristic of or suitable to a fairy tale especially : marked by seemingly unreal beauty, perfection, luck, or happiness led a fairy-tale life a store clerk's fairy-tale romance

fairy tale


Definition of fairy tale (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces and beings (such as fairies, wizards, and goblins) enjoyed the fairy tale "The Little Mermaid"

called also fairy story

b : a story in which improbable events lead to a happy ending those balletic fairy tales in which a new corps member steps in for an injured principal at the last minute and delivers a splendid performance— Margaret Willis

2 : a made-up story usually designed to mislead an old-fashioned fairy tale depicting revolutionists as demigods— Jonathan Zimmerman

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Synonyms & Antonyms for fairy-tale

Synonyms: Noun

fable, fabrication, falsehood, falsity, fib, lie, mendacity, prevarication, story, tale, untruth, whopper

Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of fairy-tale in a Sentence


the fairy tale about the sleeping princess Everything he told us about his happy marriage was just a fairy tale.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Their study of three fishermen — one of them wears a top hat! — is emblematic of so many early photographs in combining the inexplicable rightness of a fairy tale with the immediacy of something just around the corner. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "At Yale: on the threshold and under the volcano," 6 July 2018 The blueprints include a variety of genre stories, like a fairy tale about a magical princess or the story of an alien invasion, that require listeners to offer names and other bits (such as a favorite dessert) that Alexa incorporates. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "5 Cool Things You Can Do With Amazon Alexa's Customizable Skills," 19 Apr. 2018 This ever-smiling, strong free spirit found her prince, fell in love and in turn made a cynical world believe in fairy tales again. USA TODAY, "Meghan Markle, Adam Rippon, Issa Rae hit 'Time' 100 Most Influential list," 19 Apr. 2018 In fairy tales, princes are charming and stepsisters are wicked. Stmichaelschool, cleveland.com, "St. Michael School Drama Club Presents "Mirror Image": Community Voices," 24 Jan. 2018 Following his departure from Barcelona, the midfield maestro travelled to Russia this summer in hopes of one last hurrah before bowing out; a second World Cup triumph would've been a fairy tale. SI.com, "Andres Iniesta Posts Emotional Farewell Announcing Retirement From Spain," 3 July 2018 Desus and Mero) Getty Images (2) Comedy duo Desus Nice and The Kid Mero—real names Daniel Baker and Joel Martinez—are a fairy tale for the internet age. Time Staff, Time, "The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet," 28 June 2018 Per Vogue, the shower took place in Atlanta, and the theme was Bronx fairy tale. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Cardi B's "Bardi" Baby Shower Was A Real Bronx Fairy Tale," 28 June 2018 But of course, this is a fairy tale and Shurtliff is a master storyteller. The Christian Science Monitor, "4 delightful new books for middle-grade readers," 7 June 2018

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


1904, in the meaning defined above


1635, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for fairy-tale

The first known use of fairy-tale was in 1635

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More Definitions for fairy-tale

fairy tale


English Language Learners Definition of fairy tale

: a simple children's story about magical creatures

: a false story that is meant to trick people

fairy tale


Kids Definition of fairy tale

: a simple children's story about magical creatures

Comments on fairy-tale

What made you want to look up fairy-tale? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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