myth

noun
\ ˈmith How to pronounce myth (audio) \

Definition of myth

1a : a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon creation myths
b : parable, allegory Moral responsibility is the motif of Plato's myths.
2a : a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone especially : one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society seduced by the American myth of individualism — Orde Coombs the utopian myth of a perfect society
b : an unfounded or false notion the myth of racial superiority
3 : a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence the Superman myth The unicorn is a myth.
4 : the whole body of myths a student of Greek myth

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Synonyms for myth

Synonyms

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Myth and Urban Myth

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.

Examples of myth in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Insider trading is an offense surrounded by many familiar myths. Anchorage Daily News, "Five myths about insider trading," 3 May 2020 Combating the myths can be a little more problematic when leaders are providing different guidance to their constituents. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "Here's who's really in charge of protecting the public," 22 Apr. 2020 In Philip’s case, the myth was the good Jewish boy traduced by inner anarchy. Benjamin Taylor, The Atlantic, "Being Friends With Philip Roth," 21 Apr. 2020 Louisville Courier Journal There are some crazy and dangerous myths circulating about ways to prevent COVID-19. Courier Journal Staff, The Courier-Journal, "Don't burn your nose trying to prevent COVID-19 and other tips from a Louisville doctor," 20 Apr. 2020 These paintings depicted myths related to love, with Venus and Adonis making an appearance, as well as Hercules and Omphale. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "This Virtual Tour of Pompeii Takes You Through Two Recently Excavated Homes," 16 Apr. 2020 Millions of people have watched TikToks created by healthcare professionals disseminating critical Covid information, debunking myths and revealing the realities -- and the humanity -- of their daily battles. Aj Willingham, CNN, "Stuck at home, families find a new way to bond: creating TikTok videos," 19 Apr. 2020 Now a man has died President Trump, Elon Musk and other are spreading dangerous myths about coronavirus. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: The suspect science behind Trump’s chloroquine claims," 1 Apr. 2020 Researchers have released new findings and data that will hopefully put harmful myths about electric vehicle emissions to rest. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Yes, Electric Vehicles Are Better for the Environment in 95 Percent of the World," 26 Mar. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of myth

1830, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for myth

earlier mythos, mythus, borrowed from Greek mŷthos "utterance, speech, discourse, tale, narrative, fiction, legend," of obscure origin

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Learn More about myth

Statistics for myth

Last Updated

18 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Myth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myth. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for myth

myth

noun
How to pronounce myth (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of myth

: 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

myth

noun
\ ˈmith How to pronounce myth (audio) \

Kids Definition of myth

1 : a story often describing the adventures of beings with more than human powers that attempts to explain mysterious events (as the changing of the seasons) or that explains a religious belief or practice
2 : such stories as a group
3 : a person or thing existing only in the imagination The dragon is a myth.
4 : a popular belief that is not true It's just a myth that money can buy happiness.

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More from Merriam-Webster on myth

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for myth

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with myth

Spanish Central: Translation of myth

Nglish: Translation of myth for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of myth for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about myth

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