View synonyms for fable


[ fey-buhl ]


  1. a short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters; apologue: Aesop's fables.

    the fable of the tortoise and the hare;

    Aesop's fables.

  2. a story not founded on fact:

    This biography is largely a self-laudatory fable.

  3. a story about supernatural or extraordinary persons or incidents; legend:

    the fables of gods and heroes.

  4. legends or myths collectively:

    the heroes of Greek fable.

  5. an untruth; falsehood:

    This boast of a cure is a medical fable.

  6. the plot of an epic, a dramatic poem, or a play.
  7. idle talk:

    old wives' fables.

verb (used without object)

, fa·bled, fa·bling.
  1. to tell or write fables.
  2. to speak falsely; lie:

    to fable about one's past.

verb (used with object)

, fa·bled, fa·bling.
  1. to describe as if actually so; talk about as if true:

    She is fabled to be the natural daughter of a king.


/ ˈfeɪbəl /


  1. a short moral story, esp one with animals as characters
  2. a false, fictitious, or improbable account; fiction or lie
  3. a story or legend about supernatural or mythical characters or events
  4. legends or myths collectively fabulous
  5. archaic.
    the plot of a play or of an epic or dramatic poem


  1. to relate or tell (fables)
  2. intr to speak untruthfully; tell lies
  3. tr to talk about or describe in the manner of a fable

    ghosts are fabled to appear at midnight

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Derived Forms

  • ˈfabler, noun

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Other Words From

  • fa·bler noun
  • out·fa·ble verb (used with object) outfabled outfabling
  • un·fa·bling adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of fable1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English fable, fabel, fabul, from Anglo-French, Old French, from Latin fābula “a story, tale,” equivalent to fā(rī) “to speak” + -bula suffix of instrument

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Word History and Origins

Origin of fable1

C13: from Latin fābula story, narrative, from fārī to speak, say

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Synonym Study

See legend.

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Example Sentences

The fourth artist, Andrew Hladky, burrows deeply into fable, inspired by a dystopian novel.

The book’s sequel, “The Spirit of Music,” is a kind of action-adventure fable involving Victor, Michael, and a number of other friends and teachers.

In her book, Jaffe, a longtime labor journalist, says large corporations specifically conjured this fable in order to pay workers less and give them fewer benefits.

From Time

For a writer who would become most renowned for his nonfiction—he won the National Book Award for Arctic Dreams in 1986—it was his short stories and fables and trickster tales that I most cherished, learned from, stole from.

Like the fable of the city mouse and the country mouse, a city coyote may feel very uncomfortable in the country, and vice versa, guesses Javier Monzon.

The story of fluoridation reads like a postmodern fable, and the moral is clear: a scientific discovery might seem like a boon.

It is a fable about an elderly woman, “Grandy,” who has suffered an unnamed loss.

The fable tells us that if policymakers foster competition and cut taxes, the rest will pretty much work itself out.

D.H. Lawrence wrestled with the discontent of well-off people in his dark fable, “The Rocking-Horse Winner.”

His hilarious parody-fable, “A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig,” traces the supposed genesis of that culinary delicacy.

You know the fable about the dog who dropped his meat in the water, trying to snap at its reflection?

But whatever may be the origin of this fable, the assigning of it to Napoleon is in itself a singular circumstance.

An allusion to the fable in sop about the earthern and brazen pots being dashed together.

The two versions of this fable are also instances of the relative capabilities of the French and the English four-stress lines.

This fable is only one among many others that were narrated with a view to curbing the propensities of blaspheming swearers.


Related Words




Fabius Maximusfabled