Word of the Day : April 19, 2011

parable

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noun PAIR-uh-bul

Definition

: example; specifically : a usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle

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."


Examples

The priest opened his homily by relating the parable of the Good Samaritan that appears in the Gospel of Luke.

"Look for no blameless moppets in ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio,’ Carlo Collodi’s 1883 folk classic about a naughty puppet who longs to be a real boy. A far cry from Disney’s sanitized classic, Collodi’s masterly parable captures the spirit of childhood anarchy as few other works of children's literature have before or since." -- From a theater review by F. Kathleen Foley in the Los Angeles Times Culture Monster blog, March 3, 2011



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