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

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 Students said the graphic perpetuates ideas like the model minority myth, which claims that Asians are inherently successful and close to whiteness. NBC News, 19 Nov. 2021 Welcome to the third installment in this cotton myth-busting article series, informed by the recent Transformers Foundation cotton misinformation case study. Brooke Roberts-islam, Forbes, 30 Oct. 2021 Ford’s comments further enforce the model minority myth and the notion that there’s such a thing as good and bad immigrants. Katherine Singh, refinery29.com, 20 Oct. 2021 More on the dangerous ways the model minority myth plays out here, here, and here. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, 12 Oct. 2021 Living up to the model minority myth is killing us. New York Times, 30 Sep. 2021 Like a little fact-finding and a little myth-busting as the Santa Ana season begins. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 28 Sep. 2021 On this week’s show, Erekson talks about myth-busting and faith-building. David Noyce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Sep. 2021 Such an event is inevitably catnip for myth-making, but even when stripped down to its essence, the Alamo and the aftermath were truly extraordinary. Rich Lowry, National Review, 20 July 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near myth

mystique

myth

mythi

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Statistics for myth

Last Updated

1 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Myth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/myth. Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for myth

myth

noun

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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