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From Ancient Greek μῦθος (mûthos, word, humour, companion, speech, account, rumour, fable). Attested in English since 1830. Doublet of mythos.



myth (plural myths)

  1. A traditional story which embodies a belief regarding some fact or phenomenon of experience, and in which often the forces of nature and of the soul are personified; a sacred narrative regarding a god, a hero, the origin of the world or of a people, etc.
    • 1981, William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture, London: Rider/Hutchinson & Co., page 175:
      Jacobsen's theory about the empty storehouse is still valid, for a myth never has one meaning only; a myth is a polyphonic fugue of many voices.
  2. (uncountable) Such stories as a genre.
    Myth was the product of man's emotion and imagination, acted upon by his surroundings. (E. Clodd, Myths & Dreams (1885), 7, cited after OED)
  3. A commonly-held but false belief, a common misconception; a fictitious or imaginary person or thing; a popular conception about a real person or event which exaggerates or idealizes reality.
    Synonym: misconception
    • 2016, Tim Carvell; Josh Gondelman; Dan Gurewitch; Jeff Maurer; Ben Silva; Will Tracy; Jill Twiss; Seena Vali; Julie Weiner, “Opiods”, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 3, episode 27, HBO, Warner Bros. Television:
      Okay, okay, okay… First, of course, babies feel pain. How the fuck did we ever think otherwise⁉ But more importantly, the fact that painkillers are addictive was not a myth. It’s like a book of Greek mythology featuring the stories of Zeus, Sisyphus, Oedipus and Yanni. Come on! That last one is very real and it cannot be dismissed.
    Scientists debunk the myth that gum stays in the human stomach for seven years.
  4. A person or thing held in excessive or quasi-religious awe or admiration based on popular legend
    Father Flanagan was legendary, his institution an American myth. (Tucson (Arizona) Citizen, 20 September 1979, 5A/3, cited after OED)
  5. A person or thing existing only in imagination, or whose actual existence is not verifiable.
    • 1849, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, The Caxtons:
      As for Mrs. Primmins's bones, they had been myths these twenty years.
    • 2010, BioWare, Mass Effect 2 (Science Fiction), Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →OCLC, PC, scene: Collectors Codex entry:
      Living beyond the Omega-4 mass relay in the Terminus Systems, the mysterious Collector species is glimpsed so rarely as to be taken for a myth by most in galactic society. In reality, Collectors are human-sized insectoid bipeds and can resemble massive winged beetles. They are a terrifying force in the galaxy, responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands.
  6. An invented story, theory, or concept.
    His story is a pure myth.

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  1. Nasal mutation of byth.


Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
byth fyth myth unchanged
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.