Definition of parable
: example; specifically : a usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle the parable of the Good Samaritan
parable was our Word of the Day on 04/19/2011. Hear the podcast!
Examples of parable in a Sentence
He told the children a parable about the importance of forgiveness.
the parable of the Good Samaritan
Recent Examples of parable from the Web
The economists illustrate their argument with a parable about the potato: Before World War II, Americans ate massive amounts of potatoes, largely baked, boiled or mashed.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'parable'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Parable comes to us via Anglo-French from the Late Latin word parabola, which in turn comes from Greek parabolē, meaning "comparison." The word parabola may look familiar if you remember your geometry. The mathematical "parabola" refers to a kind of comparison between a fixed point and a straight line, resulting in a parabolic curve; it came to English from New Latin (Latin as used since the end of the medieval period, especially in scientific description and classification). "Parable," however, descends from Late Latin (the Latin language used by writers in the 3rd to 6th centuries). The Late Latin term parabola referred to verbal comparisons: it essentially meant "allegory" or "speech." Other English descendants of Late Latin parabola are "parole" and "palaver."
PARABLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of parable for English Language Learners
: a short story that teaches a moral or spiritual lesson; especially : one of the stories told by Jesus Christ and recorded in the Bible
PARABLE Defined for Kids
Definition of parable for Students
: a simple story that teaches a moral lesson
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up parable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).