- a story, usually for children, about elves, hobgoblins, dragons, fairies, or other magical creatures.
- 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
- a story about fairies or other mythical or magical beings, esp one of traditional origin told to children
- 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
"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