\ 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 The entire story was told like a fairy tale from the prince. Washington Post, "‘Prince of Persia,’ Ubisoft’s long-missing star, returns for a ‘Sands of Time’ remake," 10 Sep. 2020 In the fairy tale, mothers everywhere would have access to universal childcare. Melissa Chadburn, The New York Review of Books, "‘Hansel and Gretel’ in LA County," 27 Aug. 2020 Something right out of the pages of a Grimm’s fairy tale. Tracey Baptiste, Washington Post, "Zadie Smith’s ‘Intimations’ looks back at our year of quarantine, racial reckonings and collective suffering," 10 Aug. 2020 The feminist fairy tale — which began with women crying and popping Champagne on the convention floor in San Francisco in 1984 — had a sad ending. Maureen Dowd New York Times, Star Tribune, "Recalling the first time a presidential candidate's running mate was a woman …," 10 Aug. 2020 But Mayer and TikTok don't seem to be getting their fairy tale ending. Frank Pallotta, CNN, "Kevin Mayer went from Disney's king of streaming to fighting for TikTok's life," 1 Aug. 2020 Millions were enchanted by the 1981 fairy tale wedding of Charles and his young bride, Lady Diana Spencer, and then by the arrival of their sons, Princes William and Harry. People Staff, PEOPLE.com, "Diana, Charles, and Camilla: The Untold Story — New PEOPLE Special Edition Out Now!," 31 July 2020 Vintage furniture helps flesh out the fairy tale feeling of the space. Kate Reggev, House Beautiful, "A Cramped, 1940s Tudor Becomes a Welcoming, Parisian-Inspired Family Home," 15 July 2020 Instead, Disney is vowing to recreate the ride using characters and songs from the 2009 film The Princess and the Frog, a fairy tale that featured Disney's first Black princess. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Here's the Reason Why Disney Is Changing Splash Mountain's Song and Theme," 26 June 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

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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 23 Sep. 2020.

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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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