Canterbury Tales, The


an uncompleted sequence of tales by Chaucer, written for the most part after 1387. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

the canterbury tales in Culture

The Canterbury Tales

A work written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the late fourteenth century about a group of pilgrims, of many different occupations and personalities, who meet at an inn near London as they are setting out for Canterbury, England. Their host proposes a storytelling contest to make the journey more interesting.


Some of the more famous stories are “The Knight's Tale,” “The Miller's Tale,” and “The Wife of Bath's Tale.”


The tales, which are almost all in rhyme, have many different styles, reflecting the great diversity of the pilgrims; some are notoriously bawdy. The language of The Canterbury Tales is Middle English.
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.