\ 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

While many modern Thais see it as the stuff of fairy tales, the story nevertheless lends the area a mystical presence. George Styllis, latimes.com, "Water pumps, drills and Buddhist prayers power desperate search for boys trapped in Thailand cave," 1 July 2018 The world needs good news right now, and the royal wedding supplied it, but in a way that surpasses talk of fairy tales, fashion and royal traditions. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Royal wedding: Electrifying message, luminous smile," 19 May 2018 In recent years, that world has moved from the realm of possibility to fairy tale, as the Trump administration’s move to open an official U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem has shown. Heather Hurlburt, Daily Intelligencer, "‘Status Quo Minus’ in Israel and Palestine," 14 May 2018 The first is a memoir of sorts, told in short stories; the second is a book of fairy tales. Allison Stewart, chicagotribune.com, "Liz Phair, still living in 'Guyville' 25 years later," 27 Apr. 2018 So cancel the fairy tale, stop daydreaming and take a look at reality — this guy isn't right for you and that's his loss. Author: Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, "My boyfriend doesn’t like sharing a bed – or his life, either," 25 Mar. 2018 Shelby County Community Theatre presents the musical that incorporates plots and characters of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, Baker and Baker’s wife, Jack and Cinderella. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "11 theater & comedy acts July 27-Aug. 2," 26 July 2017 Miles Malleson’s interwar fairy tale about a Parliamentary election reaches its happy ever after. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "12 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 2018 There’s no cozy romantic fairy tale, but no clear idea of just what Eliza has in mind: This ending isn’t particularly satisfactory, either. Corby Kummer, The Atlantic, "How Do Carousel and My Fair Lady Fare in 2018?," 8 July 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).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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