folk·​tale | \ ˈfōk-ˌtāl How to pronounce folktale (audio) \

Definition of folktale

: a characteristically anonymous, timeless, and placeless tale circulated orally among a people

Examples of folktale in a Sentence

West African folktales that continue to be passed from generation to generation through storytelling.
Recent Examples on the Web The Night Gardener is described as a gritty neo-noir folktale centered on a young man in rural Missouri fighting to keep his family together in the wake of a tragedy. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Apr. 2022 The Indian folktale, with a few modern elements thrown in, was one of many stories told for the annual World Storytelling Day event. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Mar. 2022 It’s a Vietnamese folktale about how the tiger got its stripes...from a little popular collection of stories that use the zodiac – The Asian Animal Zodiac by Ruth Q. Sun. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, 10 Mar. 2022 In one activity, a mentor tells an African folktale to a student. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Feb. 2022 Still, the folktale remained part of European culture, coming in and out of the zeitgeist. Roy Schwartz, CNN, 21 Dec. 2021 Based on an old French folktale, it has been passed down in several versions, but the idea is always the same: A lone traveler, or three soldiers or perhaps three monks come to a village, where no one wants to feed them. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 24 Jan. 2022 Nicolas Cage’s artisan-avenger makes Michael Sarnoski’s folktale a fable about personal conviction, but Will Smith misses the point in his latest egotistical biopic. Armond White, National Review, 7 Jan. 2022 The folktale itself likely originates in Germany or Poland. Roy Schwartz, CNN, 21 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'folktale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of folktale

1850, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of folktale was in 1850

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Dictionary Entries Near folktale



folk tune

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Last Updated

5 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Folktale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for folktale


folk·​tale | \ ˈfōk-ˌtāl How to pronounce folktale (audio) \

Kids Definition of folktale

: a story made up and handed down by the common people

More from Merriam-Webster on folktale

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for folktale


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