\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for fairy-tale

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 The second movie directed by Guillermo del Toro to feature comic creator Mike Mignola's signature character, Hellboy II: The Golden Army leans more into the fairy tale side of Hellboy mythos than the pulp vibes that dominated the first film. Christian Holub, EW.com, "How Hellboy gave Neil Gaiman his start in writing for movies and TV," 2 Mar. 2021 Adare Manor has a Proposal Concierge dedicated to ensuring the most romantic proposal straight out of a fairy tale. Roger Sands, Forbes, "The World’s Most Romantic Places To Propose," 2 Mar. 2021 With her long blonde hair complementing the dress's light blue hue, Taylor-Joy channeled the elegance of Tinseltown with the whimsy of a Disney fairy tale. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Anya Taylor-Joy Channeled an Old Hollywood Cinderella After the Golden Globes," 1 Mar. 2021 This sounds like some kind of actor fairy tale that couldn’t possibly be real. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Anthony Hopkins Remembers It All," 27 Feb. 2021 Director Neil Jordan distills all the Freudian, fairy tale imagery and horror contained in Carter’s work into one surreal version of Little Red Riding Hood with werewolves. Washington Post, "Let’s talk about ‘Starship Troopers’ and other science fiction and fantasy novels that became great films," 23 Feb. 2021 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of fairy-tale


1904, in the meaning defined above


1635, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fairy-tale

Time Traveler for fairy-tale

Time Traveler

The first known use of fairy-tale was in 1635

See more words from the same year

Statistics for fairy-tale

Cite this Entry

“Fairy-tale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fairy-tale. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!