fairy tale


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.

Nearby words

  1. fairy ring,
  2. fairy shrimp,
  3. fairy stone,
  4. fairy story,
  5. fairy swallow,
  6. fairy-slipper,
  7. fairy-tale,
  8. fairyfloss,
  9. fairyhood,
  10. fairyism

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for fairy-tale

British Dictionary definitions for fairy-tale



of or relating to a fairy tale
resembling a fairy tale, esp in being extremely happy or fortunatea true story with a fairy-tale ending
highly improbablehe came out with a fairy-tale account of his achievements

fairy tale

fairy story


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

Word Origin and History for fairy-tale

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