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.

Origin of myth

1820–30; < Late Latin mȳthos < Greek mŷthos story, word
Related formscoun·ter·myth, noun
Can be confusedfable legend myth (see synonym study at legend)

Synonyms for myth

1. See legend. 3. fiction, fantasy, talltale.

myth. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for myth

Contemporary Examples of myth

Historical Examples of myth

  • All this seemed very plausible and interesting, but it is undoubtedly a myth.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • Then Ralph whispered, "We know it was only a myth, don't we?"

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • The story should follow, if possible, a tale or lesson on the subject of the myth.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • That makes me think, Charlie, of a myth there is about the first anemones.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • My mother's kind god was a myth and a joke, with no power here one way or the other.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

British Dictionary definitions for myth



  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


abbreviation for

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 myth

1830, from French Mythe (1818) and directly from Modern Latin mythus, from Greek mythos "speech, thought, story, myth, anything delivered by word of mouth," of unknown origin.

Myths are "stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial ... the result is religious legend, not myth." [J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254]

General sense of "untrue story, rumor" is from 1840.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper