Definition of myth
- creation myths
- seduced by the American myth of individualism
- —Orde Coombs
- the utopian myth of a perfect society
- the myth of racial superiority
- the Superman myth
- The unicorn is a myth.
- a student of Greek myth
It's an enduring myth that money brings happiness.
I don't believe the myths and legends about this forest.
Contrary to popular myth, no monster lives in this lake.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'myth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
For a word so often applied to events or stories from long, long ago, myth has a remarkably recent history in the English language. The earliest evidence for the word is from 1830, well after the time when the events themselves are thought to have occurred (though it should be noted that the related words mythology and mythic are hundreds of years older – still not as old as Achilles, but not young, either!). One application of myth, however – in the phrase urban myth – is quite new. Curiously, an urban myth does not usually have anything to do with the city: it is simply “a story about an unusual event or occurrence that many people believe is true but that is not true.” An example would be the tale that Elvis Presley is still alive after spending decades in a witness protection program. The phrase urban myth has been used to describe such hoaxes since at least 1971.
First Known Use: 1830See Words from the same year
: an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true
: a story that was told in an ancient culture to explain a practice, belief, or natural occurrence
: such stories as a group
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