old wives' tale

noun

Definition of old wives' tale

: an often traditional belief that is not based on fact : superstition

Examples of old wives' tale in a Sentence

Frogs won't give you warts. That's just an old wives' tale. the old wives' tale about the full moon causing people to act crazy
Recent Examples on the Web The supposed toxicity of this Christmas classic is nothing more than an old wives' tale, Dr. Wismer says. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "5 Holiday Plants That Are Way More Toxic Than Poinsettias to Cats and Dogs," 14 Dec. 2018 Many doctors perceive the use of cod-liver oil for joint pain as an old wives' tale. Houston Chronicle, "Old wives’ remedy helped arthritis pain," 1 July 2018 When to Go to the Doctor Despite the old wives' tale, cranberry juice will not cure your UTI. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "9 Common UTI Symptoms You Should Never Ignore," 12 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'old wives' tale.' 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 old wives' tale

1572, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for old wives' tale

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The first known use of old wives' tale was in 1572

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Cite this Entry

“Old wives' tale.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/old%20wives%27%20tale. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for old wives' tale

old wives' tale

noun

English Language Learners Definition of old wives' tale

disapproving : a common belief about something that is not based on facts and that is usually false

More from Merriam-Webster on old wives' tale

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for old wives' tale

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with old wives' tale

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