• synonyms

fairy tale

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  1. a story, usually for children, about elves, hobgoblins, dragons, fairies, or other magical creatures.
  2. an incredible or misleading statement, account, or belief: His story of being a millionaire is just a fairy tale.

Origin of fairy tale

First recorded in 1740–50
Also called fairy story.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fairytale

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I should reply, Read Undine: that is a fairytale; then read this and that as well, and you will see what is a fairytale.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • Suppose my child ask me what the fairytale means, what am I to say?

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • You write as if a fairytale were a thing of importance: must it have a meaning?

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • Did you let her out of a box, as the princess did in the fairytale?

    The Fairchild Family

    Mary Martha Sherwood

  • Rather a fairytale sort of country where mistletoe can be got so easily!

British Dictionary definitions for fairytale

fairy tale

fairy story

  1. a story about fairies or other mythical or magical beings, esp one of traditional origin told to children
  2. a highly improbable account
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fairytale

fairy tale


"oral narrative centered on magical tests, quests, and transformations," 1749, translating French Conte de feés of Madame d'Aulnois (1698, translated into English 1699). As an adjective (also fairytale), attested by 1963.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper