\ 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 Just like in the fairy tale, Cinderella married a handsome royal named Prince Charming, a union facilitated by magic. Deborah Martin, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio writer Kalynn Bayron’s buzzy YA novel ‘Cinderella is Dead’ updates fairy tale with black, gay protagonist," 30 June 2020 The work is based on the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm and includes music by Offenbach, Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "The Dallas Opera launches an online summer boot camp for kids," 25 June 2020 Like Simon, Victor got his fairy tale ending and the chance to come out to his parents — but his story is clearly still far from over. Lydia Wang, refinery29.com, "The Love, Victor Season 1 Finale All But Confirms Season 2," 18 June 2020 But life in a stately home isn't quite the fairy tale it's made out to be. Southern Living, "The New Show “An American Aristocrat’s Guide to Great Estates” Invites You To Tour Lavish British Properties," 12 June 2020 But this was not the fairy tale beginning to a whirlwind love story. Jonathan Bullington, The Courier-Journal, "'These are the people we're losing': Louisville family matriarch dies from the coronavirus," 3 Apr. 2020 The series is a love story that is neither fairy tale nor entirely cynical, with a cast of electric actors who seem destined for great things. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: Zoe Kravitz's 'High Fidelity' remake is the brilliant modern love story we need," 14 Feb. 2020 Of course, any good fairy tale has to have good guys and bad guys, with lots of deadpan comic relief coming from the latter, one of whom happens to be both a zoologist and a con artist, a pretty neat trick in and of itself. Chuck Yarborough, cleveland, "‘Abominable’ slips a lesson into a sweet tale of adventure and discovery," 23 Sep. 2019 Among the many stories that make Disneyland Paris unique is that its opening represents Disney’s return to a land that inspired many of the timeless fairy tales shared by Walt Disney in an extraordinary way. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, "Take a Virtual Tour of Disneyland Paris With This Fascinating Video Series (Video)," 14 Apr. 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 7 Jul. 2020.

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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