fable (plural fables)
- A fictitious narrative intended to enforce some useful truth or precept, usually with animals, etc. as characters; an apologue. Prototypically, Aesop's Fables.
- Synonym: morality play
- Any story told to excite wonder; common talk; the theme of talk.
- Synonym: legend
- Fiction; untruth; falsehood.
- 1712 January 13, Joseph Addison; Richard Steele, “WEDNESDAY, January 2, 1711–1712 [Julian calendar]”, in The Spectator, number 264; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, […], volume III, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, OCLC 191120697, page 316:
- I say it would look like a fable to report that this gentleman gives away all which is the overplus of a great fortune by secret methods to other men.
- The plot, story, or connected series of events forming the subject of an epic or dramatic poem.
- 1695, John Dryden, A Parallel betwixt Painting and Poetry:
- For the moral (as Bossu observes,) is the first business of the poet, as being the groundwork of his instruction. This being formed, he contrives such a design, or fable, as may be most suitable to the moral;
fictitious narration to enforce some useful truth or precept
story told to excite wonder
fiction, untruth, falsehood
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- (intransitive, archaic) To compose fables; hence, to write or speak fiction; to write or utter what is not true.
- 1591, William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Sixt”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene ii], page 111, column 2:
- He Fables not, I heare the enemie: / Out ſome light Horſemen, and peruſe their Wings.
- 1709, Mat[thew] Prior, “An Ode, Humbly Inscrib’d to the Queen”, in Poems on Several Occasions, 2nd edition, London: […] Jacob Tonson […], OCLC 1103119849, stanza XVII, page 287:
- Vain now the Tales which fab’ling Poets tell, / That wav’ring Conqueſt ſtill deſires to rove; / In Marlbrô’s Camp the Goddeſs knows to dwell: / Long as the Hero’s Life remains her Love.
- 1852, Matthew Arnold, Empedocles on Etna, Act II, in Empedocles on Etna and Other Poems, London: B. Fellowes, p. 50,
- He fables, yet speaks truth.
- (transitive, archaic) To make up; to devise, and speak of, as true or real; to tell of falsely; to recount in the form of a fable.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book VI”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 288–292:
- […] erre not that ſo ſhall end / The ſtrife of Glorie: which we mean to win, / Or turn this Heav’n itſelf into the Hell / Thou fableſt […]
- 1922 February, James Joyce, “[Episode 2: Nestor]”, in Ulysses, London: The Egoist Press, published October 1922, OCLC 2297483, part I [Telemachia], page 24:
- Fabled by the daughters of memory. And yet it was in some way if not as memory fabled it. A phrase, then, of impatience, thud of Blake’s wings of excess.
tell of falsely
fable f (plural fables)
- “fable” in Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).
- “fable” in The Bokmål Dictionary.
- “fable” in The Nynorsk Dictionary.
- fable, story
- circa 1250, Rutebeuf, Ci encoumence la lections d'ypocrisie et d'umilité:
- Ne vos wel faire longue fable
- I don't want to tell you a long story
- → Middle Dutch: fabele
- → Dutch: fabel
- → Middle English: fable
- → English: fable
- Middle French: fable
- French: fable