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

  1. Frogs won't give you warts. That's just an old wives' tale.

  2. the old wives' tale about the full moon causing people to act crazy

Recent Examples of old wives' tale from the Web

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.

First Known Use of old wives' tale

1572

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

OLD WIVES' TALE Defined for English Language Learners

old wives' tale

Definition of old wives' tale for English Language Learners

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



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a figure representing a hated person

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a-closeup-of-a-sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!