fable

[ fey-buhl ]
/ ˈfeɪ bəl /

noun

verb (used without object), fa·bled, fa·bling.

to tell or write fables.
to speak falsely; lie: to fable about one's past.

verb (used with object), fa·bled, fa·bling.

to describe as if actually so; talk about as if true: She is fabled to be the natural daughter of a king.

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Origin of fable

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

synonym study for fable

1. See legend.

historical usage of fable

Fable comes via French from Latin fābula “talk, conversation, gossip or the subject of gossip, a story for entertainment or instruction, a fable.” The plural fābulae is used as an interjection meaning “nonsense! rubbish!”; the idiom lupus in fābulā, literally “the wolf in the fable,” is the equivalent of our “speak of the devil.” The derivative verb fābulārī “to talk, chat” is especially common in the comedies of Plautus and Terence.
Fābulārī, regularized to fābulāre, is the source of Spanish hablar and Portuguese falar “to speak.” Catalan, however, always influenced by French, uses parlar. French parler and Italian parlare are verbs derived from the Latin noun parabola “comparison, explanatory illustration,” in Late Latin (and especially in Christian Latin) “allegorical story, parable, proverb.”
Parabola becomes parola “word” in Italian, parole in French, paraula in Catalan. And by metathesis (transposition of letters) common in Spanish and Portuguese, parabola becomes parabla in Old Spanish, palabra in Spanish, and palavra in Portuguese.
The related English word fib “a small or trivial lie” is a shortening of earlier fibble-fable “nonsense,” an obsolete or dialectal compound based on fable, in the sense “a story not founded in fact.”

OTHER WORDS FROM fable

fa·bler, nounout·fa·ble, verb (used with object), out·fa·bled, out·fa·bling.un·fa·bling, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH fable

fable , legend, myth (see synonym study at legend)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for fable

British Dictionary definitions for fable

fable
/ (ˈfeɪbəl) /

noun

verb

Derived forms of fable

fabler, noun

Word Origin for fable

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