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 Like most myths, legends, and folktales, the story of El Cuco is a really, really old one. Gina Vaynshteyn,, "The El Cuco Legend Guide You’ll Need For HBO’s The Outsider," 12 Jan. 2020 The Grimms had not intended to publish a book of folktales. National Geographic, "Brothers Grimm fairy tales were never meant for kids," 24 Sep. 2019 Shadi Ghadirian refers to a Persian folktale about a noble butterfly and an evil spider in her photographs, in which women are the butterflies trapped by the restrictions of Iranian society. Cate Mcquaid,, "MFA takes visitors to ‘delectable’ fantasy worlds with two new exhibitions," 8 Aug. 2019 Disappointingly, for those of us who cottoned to the folktale of a new economy driven by brilliant little Edisons and Teslas in Everlane, technological breakthroughs were, by 2015, believed to be too easily copied. Wired, "Tech Marketing Is Losing Its Cool," 22 Oct. 2019 Over a 40-year span, seven editions of the folktale collection were published. National Geographic, "Brothers Grimm fairy tales were never meant for kids," 24 Sep. 2019 His treatment of the folktale as literature—innovative, even subversive at the time—puts him in company with Yeats, Stevenson, Poe. Jonathan Dee, The New Yorker, "Why Lafcadio Hearn’s Ghost Stories Still Haunt Us," 9 Sep. 2019 His art is infused with colorful abstract geometric shapes and patterns influenced by music and his individual interpretation of folktales from the African Diaspora., "Community News For The Windsor Edition," 11 Sep. 2019 Collecting myths and folktales from the Inuit of Baffin Island and the indigenous people of British Columbia, Boas acquired a distaste for generalizations that failed to convey the rich diversity of specific cultures. Wendy Smith,, "Seeing the world from the inside looking out in ‘Gods of the Upper Air’," 7 Aug. 2019

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.

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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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Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Folktale.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 29 January 2020.

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More Definitions for folktale


How to pronounce folktale (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of folktale

: a traditional story


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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with folktale

Comments on folktale

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to assert without proof or before proving

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