\ ˈfer-ē-ˌtāl How to pronounce fairy-tale (audio) \

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

Antonyms: Noun

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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: Noun To this day, it's still widely considered the best take on the classic fairy tale. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Whitney Houston Will Always & Forever Be Brandy’s Real-Life Fairy Godmother," 12 Feb. 2021 The great Oz Perkins (The Blackcoat’s Daughter) directs this stylish take on the classic fairy tale, starring Sophia Lillis, Sam Leakey, and Alice Krige. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 40 Best Horror Movies on Amazon Prime," 24 Jan. 2021 Beneath the intensity of the NBA life and Vanessa’s brushes with controversy, the couple seemed to be building what looked like a fairy tale version of a typical Southern California household these days: mixed with at least one Latino parent. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the top Latino media moments of 2020 — and hints of what to expect in 2021," 31 Dec. 2020 The composer describes such run-ins with British bureaucracy in the wearily incredulous tones of a person toggling between the worlds of fairy tale princesses and Kafka. Washington Post, "Andrew Lloyd Webber believes in the imminent return of Broadway and the West End. That’s all he asks of you.," 4 Dec. 2020 The warm, high-contrast silver gelatin prints are quietly dramatic, like scenes from a fairy tale. Briana Miller, oregonlive, "Art shows a bit more intense and cerebral this winter in Portland," 12 Jan. 2021 Transracial adoption is often understood in dichotomous terms – a fairy tale or nightmare, an act of grace or, in one of the most extreme takes, a form of genocide. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘We’re not projects’: Transracial adoptees insist on being seen," 1 Dec. 2020 The original live-action fairy tale followed Amy Adams as Giselle, a cartoon princess who wants nothing more than to marry her prince (James Marsden) and live happily ever after. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Enchanted 2: Everything We Know About the Enchanted Sequel Starring Amy Adams," 15 Jan. 2021 There is something fairy tale–like about Owusu’s story, an orphan-like existence of struggle and survival, but there is no fairy godmother who rescues this heroine—just a growing sense of self-awareness to orient her in a troubling world. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "The Best Books to Read in 2021," 25 Dec. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of fairy-tale was in 1635

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Statistics for fairy-tale

Cite this Entry

“Fairy-tale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fairy-tale. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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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

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