fairy-tale

1 of 2

adjective

: 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

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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 performanceMargaret Willis
2
: a made-up story usually designed to mislead
an old-fashioned fairy tale depicting revolutionists as demigodsJonathan Zimmerman

Examples of fairy-tale in a Sentence

Noun 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
Adjective
Tripadvisor recently featured 10 spectacular, open-to-the-public castles in Europe, Japan and here in California as the best places to conjure fairy-tale dreams. Jackie Burrell, The Mercury News, 1 Apr. 2024 Her films, although typically set in or near the present day, are suffused with an almost primordial air of fairy-tale enchantment. Justin Chang, The New Yorker, 28 Mar. 2024 The former Kate Middleton, who married William in a fairy-tale wedding in 2011, has boosted the popularity and appeal of the British monarchy worldwide more than any royal since Princess Diana. arkansasonline.com, 22 Mar. 2024 The perfectly orchestrated fairy-tale grandeur (combined with copious media coverage) has fueled a longstanding fascination with the royals. Sydney Lake, Fortune, 13 Mar. 2024 The City of Angels is known for glitz and glamour, palm trees, celebrity sightings, and fairy-tale fantasies. Melanie Stetson Freeman, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 Feb. 2024 Reiner lives in their heads rent-free despite his immoral and immature mangling of fairy-tale morality. Armond White, National Review, 21 Feb. 2024 Lopez’s new album of competent pop R&B presents Affleck’s reemergence in her life as a fairy-tale culmination to her story, but the movie is more about interior milestones: loving oneself, healing one’s inner child, and other psychoanalytical concepts. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 16 Feb. 2024 Disney is embracing a darker side of its fairy-tale world. Erin Clack, Peoplemag, 8 Feb. 2024
Noun
What the series share is a tone that splits the difference between prestige costume drama, high melodrama, and fairy tale (the Elizabeths come from a family that practices magic). Judy Berman, TIME, 5 Apr. 2024 The Butterfly House is like a greenhouse out of a fairy tale, brimming with countless butterflies. Vogue, 3 Apr. 2024 The 10 Best New Movies on Netflix in 2024 Damsel Get ready for a fairy tale with a twist in Damsel. Travis Bean, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 With a fairy tale setting, otherworldly views and an artistic vision, Jerome offers an easy escape from the mundane. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 22 Mar. 2024 Now, in her most romantic role since that live-action fairy tale, Hathaway plays Solène, a Silver Lake art gallery owner and 40-year-old divorcée who’s always made a point of putting her daughter first. Peter Debruge, Variety, 17 Mar. 2024 Olympic National Park looks straight out of a fairy tale or film. Eve Chen, USA TODAY, 16 Mar. 2024 Rom-com maestro Gary Winick directed this lovely fairy tale about a teenage girl (Christa B. Allen) who transforms into her 30-year-old self (Jennifer Garner) and sees that adulthood is not all it’s cracked up to be. EW.com, 2 Mar. 2024 Though there are moments of romance, the show is no fairy tale. Clayton Davis, Variety, 22 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fairy-tale.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective

1904, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1635, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of fairy-tale was in 1635

Dictionary Entries Near fairy-tale

fairy stone

fairy-tale

fairy tale

Cite this Entry

“Fairy-tale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fairy-tale. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

fairy tale

noun
1
: a simple children's story about imaginary beings

called also fairy story

2
: a made-up story usually meant to mislead
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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