Definition of fable in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈfābəl/


1A short story, typically with animals as characters, conveying a moral.
Example sentences
  • Buddha Stories is a collection of animal fables that teach the moral principles of Buddhism.
  • The book is an anthology of moral fables told by mystics such as Ramakrishna and Ramana Maharshi: an interesting idea for a collection.
  • The Bible, in keeping with other ancient Near Eastern cultures, includes a book of proverbs, and in the Book of Kings we read of the parable of the trees who gathered to elect a king - a natural rather than an animal fable.
moral tale, tale, parable, allegory
1.1A story, typically a supernatural one incorporating elements of myth and legend.
Example sentences
  • . Her online papers on fables and myths of the mobile telecom industry are fascinating, and not least because of her creative approach to ethnographic writing.
  • His stories were enigmatic fables set in the past, and could be understood as veiled political criticism.
  • This is not a thriller nor a horror story but a fable; despite some of its 20th century trappings, it exists in the world of the Brothers Grimm, one remove from any identifiable time or place.
myth, legend, saga, epic, folk tale, folk story, fairy tale, mythos, folklore, mythology
1.2Myth and legend: the unnatural monsters of fable
More example sentences
  • Wherever you go in Western France you follow in the footsteps of history, shadowed by myth and legend, with fable and fairy tale snapping at your heels.
  • Perhaps it's a little too oversimplified - but isn't that the heart of fable and myth… a simple story with a deeper message?
1.3A false statement or belief.
Example sentences
  • The personal fable reflects the mistaken belief that one's feelings and experiences are uniquely different from those of others.
  • I really don't know anything about The Beach Boys other than the fables and tired myths that surround their bandleader.
  • Then came the latest of the many myths that constitute the fable of the modern American presidency.


[no object] archaic
1Tell fictitious tales: I do not dream nor fable
More example sentences
  • The wealth of entrepreneurs and capitalists is, whatever the anticapitalistic demagogues may fable, so much inferior to that of kings and princes that they cannot indulge in such luxurious construction.
  • For a ‘tale, taken from… facts,’ Castle Rackrent's fabling and didacticism are remarkably insistent and cohesive.
  • Poets may fable of such a will, that it makes the very heavens conform to it.
1.1 [with object] Fabricate or invent (an incident, person, or story).
Example sentences
  • The story may be fabled but the lessons to be learned from Wotan's casual flings are utterly human.
  • Soon our valley in Somerset was fabled as a kind of nymph-strewn Arcadia.
  • I went to the fabled Bunny Deli - fabled by me, at least; I've put it in many things I've written.



Pronunciation: /ˈfāb(ə)lər/
Example sentences
  • With less than a billion of his books in print worldwide, Jay Singh is perhaps the most sardonic, perplexing and insightful fabler of our day.
  • On hillsides overlooking marble white temples, great Greek and the Roman fablers awed their audiences with tales of warriors of battles past and mighty gods of legend who walk amongst us.


Middle English: from Old French fable (noun), from Latin fabula 'story', from fari 'speak'.

Words that rhyme with fable

Abel, able, Babel, cable, enable, gable, label, Mabel, sable, stable, table

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fa·ble

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.