- a short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters; apologue: the fable of the tortoise and the hare; Aesop's fables.
- a story not founded on fact: This biography is largely a self-laudatory fable.
- a story about supernatural or extraordinary persons or incidents; legend: the fables of gods and heroes.
- legends or myths collectively: the heroes of Greek fable.
- an untruth; falsehood: This boast of a cure is a medical fable.
- the plot of an epic, a dramatic poem, or a play.
- idle talk: old wives' fables.
- to tell or write fables.
- to speak falsely; lie: to fable about one's past.
- to describe as if actually so; talk about as if true: She is fabled to be the natural daughter of a king.
Origin of fable
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for fables
But when the darkness closes in, we actually run to fairy tales and fables.On Torture, Chuck Johnson & Sondheim
December 13, 2014
A long list of favorite books includes Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of Oz, Aesop's Fables, and The Odyssey.Gabrielle Giffords' Gunman: Jared Lee Loughner
January 8, 2011
They were not designed via the epiphany of an unlettered Russian sergeant at a workbench, as fables would have it.The Story of Saddam's Gun Collection
October 28, 2010
I have no faith in the old wives' fables that we are most miserable when we get what we want.The Bacillus of Beauty
This is the effect on us of tropes, fables, oracles, and all poetic forms.Essays, Second Series
Ralph Waldo Emerson
What is true of proverbs, is true of all fables, parables, and allegories.
To the wise, therefore, a fact is true poetry, and the most beautiful of fables.
I told you, Brent, there was often a factual basis for fables—remember?
- a short moral story, esp one with animals as characters
- a false, fictitious, or improbable account; fiction or lie
- a story or legend about supernatural or mythical characters or events
- legends or myths collectivelyRelated adjective: fabulous
- archaic the plot of a play or of an epic or dramatic poem
- to relate or tell (fables)
- (intr) to speak untruthfully; tell lies
- (tr) to talk about or describe in the manner of a fableghosts are fabled to appear at midnight
Word Origin and History for fables
c.1300, "falsehood, lie, pretense," from Old French fable (12c.) "story, fable, tale; fiction, lie, falsehood," from Latin fabula "story, play, fable, narrative, account, tale," literally "that which is told," related to fari "speak, tell," from PIE root *bha- (2) "speak" (see fame (n.)). Sense of "animal story" (early 14c.) comes from Aesop. In modern folklore terms, defined as "a short, comic tale making a moral point about human nature, usually through animal characters behaving in human ways." Most trace to Greece or India.