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myth

[ mith ]
/ mɪθ /
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noun

a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, especially one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.
stories or matter of this kind: realm of myth.
any invented story, idea, or concept: His account of the event is pure myth.
an imaginary or fictitious thing or person.
an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution.

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Origin of myth

First recorded in 1820–30; from Late Latin mȳthus, from Greek mŷthos “story, word”

synonym study for myth

1. See legend.

historical usage of myth

Myth came into English in the early 19th century via Latin mȳthus “myth, fable” from Greek mŷthos. Latin mȳthus is straightforward: it means “a fable or myth,” such as one would read in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and in Late Latin, mȳthus is even used as a synonym for fābula “a story, fable.”
Greek mŷthos has a tremendously wide range of meaning: “a word, a speech, mere speech (as opposed to érga ‘deeds’), something said, a thought, an unspoken word, a purpose, a rumor, a report, a saying, fiction (as opposed to lógos ‘historical truth’), the plot of a play, a narrative, a story, a story for children, a fable.”
Sixty percent of Greek vocabulary has no known etymology, and mŷthos is probably within that 60 percent, but it is possible that mŷthos comes from the uncommon Proto-Indo-European root mēudh-, mūdh- (with other variants) “to be concerned with, crave, earnestly desire, think over.” Following this theory, from the variant mūdh-, Greek derives mŷthos and its derivative verb mȳtheîsthai “to speak, converse, tell”; Gothic has maudjan “to remind, remember”; Lithuanian has maûsti “to be concerned with,” and Polish has myśleć “to think.”

OTHER WORDS FROM myth

coun·ter·myth, noun

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH myth

fable, legend, myth (see synonym study at legend)

Definition for myth (2 of 2)

myth.

abbreviation

mythological.
mythology.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for myth

British Dictionary definitions for myth (1 of 2)

myth
/ (mɪθ) /

noun

  1. a story about superhuman beings of an earlier age taken by preliterate society to be a true account, usually of how natural phenomena, social customs, etc, came into existence
  2. another word for mythology (def. 1), mythology (def. 3)
a person or thing whose existence is fictional or unproven
(in modern literature) a theme or character type embodying an ideaHemingway's myth of the male hero
philosophy (esp in the writings of Plato) an allegory or parable

Word Origin for myth

C19: via Late Latin from Greek muthos fable, word

British Dictionary definitions for myth (2 of 2)

myth.

abbreviation for

mythological
mythology
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
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