[ fohk-lawr, -lohr ]
See synonyms for folklore on
  1. the traditional beliefs, legends, customs, etc., of a people; lore of a people.

  2. the study of such lore.

  1. a body of widely held but false or unsubstantiated beliefs.

Origin of folklore

1846; folk + lore1; coined by English scholar and antiquary William John Thoms (1803–85)

Other words from folklore

  • folklorist, noun
  • folk·lor·is·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for folklore


/ (ˈfəʊkˌlɔː) /

  1. the unwritten literature of a people as expressed in folk tales, proverbs, riddles, songs, etc

  2. the body of stories and legends attached to a particular place, group, activity, etc: Hollywood folklore; rugby folklore

  1. the anthropological discipline concerned with the study of folkloric materials

Derived forms of folklore

  • folkloric, adjective
  • folklorist, noun, adjective
  • folkloristic, adjective

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

Cultural definitions for folklore


Traditional stories and legends, transmitted orally (rather than in writing) from generation to generation. The stories of Paul Bunyan are examples of American folklore.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.