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

Despite this popularity, Iceland retains its mystique as a place where natural wonders inspire photogenic journeys and more than a few eerie folktales. National Geographic, "20 photos of Iceland’s majestic landscapes," 23 Apr. 2019 What a delightfully awful thing to befall a small Russian hamlet, which Sarah A. Topol beautifully recounts like a modern folktale. The Editors, Outside Online, "The Weirdest Stories We've Ever Told," 4 June 2019 Sarnet elevates his Rabelaisian folktale into a tragedy illustrated by haunting, metaphorical imagery. Peter Keough,, "Bizarre farce turns tragic in Estonian black comedy ‘November’," 11 Apr. 2018 At Franny Lou's, named in honor of the abolitionist Frances E.W. Harper and the civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, shelves are stacked with books on African folktales, on the speeches of Malcolm X and on black women's hairstyles. NBC News, "As Starbucks closes for bias training, black-owned coffee shops open their doors wider," 29 May 2018 The asteroid, named Ryugu after an undersea palace in a Japanese folktale, is about 900 meters (3,000 feet) in diameter. Washington Post, "Japan space explorer arrives at asteroid to collect samples," 26 June 2018 Rockin’ ‘Round the World, Saturday, 11 a.m. Interactive folktales in English and Spanish for all ages. Jennifer Jhon, South Florida Parenting, "Family fun: Free art workshops, Caribbean fests, Lychee celebration," 26 June 2018 The piece looks at birth, transformation, and death through an Azerbaijani folktale. Peter Dobrin,, "Classical concerts: 'Star Wars' at the Mann, Curtis Summerfest, 'Fred' the organ at Kimmel, more," 6 June 2018 In African culture, there is a long tradition of teaching through folktales that have animals at the center. Eben Shapiro, Time, "Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Lynn Nottage on Her New Play, the Browning of America and Animal Rights," 17 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near folktale

folk state

folk story



folk tune



Statistics for folktale

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for folktale

The first known use of folktale was in 1850

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More Definitions for folktale



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with folktale

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for folktale

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