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

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 Julien d’Huy, of the Pantheon–Sorbonne University in Paris, talks about the use of evolutionary theory and computer modeling in the comparative analysis of myths and folktales, the subject of his article in the December 2016 Scientific American. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "How Myths Evolve over Time and Migrations," 15 Nov. 2016 Nasreddin Crater is named for the protagonist in thousands of humorous folktales told throughout the Middle East, southern Europe and parts of Asia. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Science Fiction's Biggest Names Will Live Forever on Pluto's Moon," 13 Apr. 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



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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

Comments on folktale

What made you want to look up folktale? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of returning to life

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