\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

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 But life hasn’t always been a fairy tale for Richard, who experienced a period of homelessness while growing up. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Philly Teen Who Used to Be Homeless Earns Full Ride to Harvard," 25 May 2018 However, this is a real life fairy tale with a lot of unwritten rules. Jessica Pan, The Cut, "The 10 Most Bizarre Royal Etiquette Rules," 17 May 2018 That's no fairy tale for former Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals lineman David Carter, one of the first NFL players to champion a diet without animal proteins. Debbi Snook, cleveland.com, "Why former NFL lineman David Carter switched to a completely plant-based diet (photos, recipe)," 2 May 2018 Furthermore, this stereotype plays into the idea that women are fragile creatures in need of saving — a theme that has been drilled into our brains since childhood days of fairy tales and Disney princesses. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "This Viral Prom Photo Proves the "Dad With a Shotgun" Trope Needs to End," 22 Apr. 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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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