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From Middle English bispel, from Old English bīspel, biġspel (proverb, parable, example, story), from bī- (by) + spel (talk, story). Cognate with Saterland Frisian Biespil (example), Middle Dutch bijspel (proverb, parable), German Low German Bispeel (example), German Beispiel (example). More at byspel, by-, spell.


bispel (plural not attested)

  1. (rare) A proverb or parable.
    • 1983, Marianne Powell, Fabula Docet:
      Helmut de Boor offers a similarly narrow definition of the nature of morals to be drawn from fables. Opposing "bispel" and fable he sums up the differences as regards this aspect: "The bispel aims at cognition, the fable gives practical knowledge, and in so far as an educational aim is involved the bispel aims at improving man, the fable at making him wiser."
    • 1998, Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 7:
      Such episodes and events were used to illustrate and justify more general or abstract 'philosophical' statements in much the same way as exempla or bispel 'edifying illustrative stories' were used in medieval sermons. And just as we have collections of exempla and bispel from medieval times onwards in Europe, [...]
    • 2008, Janie Steen, Verse and Virtuosity:
      In adopting the bipartite structure, then, the Phoenix-poet demonstrates that this poem is a 'two-fold story,' a bispel.

See also[edit]



bispel m (plural bispeis)

  1. miter, method of cutting the extreme of a wooden piece (a board, a pole or a stick), usually sawed with an angle of 45º, to join with another one cut the same way meeting in an angle of 90º

Middle English[edit]


From Old English bīspel (parable, example). Compare Middle High German bīspel (example) (German Beispiel). More at byspel.


bispel (plural bispels or bispeles)

  1. parable
  2. example


Old English[edit]



bīspel n

  1. Alternative spelling of bīspell