fable

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English, from Old French fable, from Latin fabula, from fā(rī) (to speak, say) + -bula (instrumental suffix). See Ban, and compare fabulous, fame.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

fable (plural fables)

  1. 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
  2. Any story told to excite wonder; common talk; the theme of talk.
    • 1 Timothy 4:7,
      Old wives' fables.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Alfred Tennyson, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      We grew / The fable of the city where we dwelt.
    Synonym: legend
  3. Fiction; untruth; falsehood.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Joseph Addison, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      It would look like a fable to report that this gentleman gives away a great fortune by secret methods.
  4. The plot, story, or connected series of events forming the subject of an epic or dramatic poem.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Dryden, (Please provide the book title or journal name):
      The moral is the first business of the poet; this being formed, he contrives such a design or fable as may be most suitable to the moral.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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Verb[edit]

fable (third-person singular simple present fables, present participle fabling, simple past and past participle fabled)

  1. (intransitive, archaic) To compose fables; hence, to write or speak fiction; to write or utter what is not true.
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 1, Act IV, Scene 2,[1]
      He fables not; I hear the enemy:
      Out, some light horsemen, and peruse their wings.
    • 1706, Matthew Prior, “An Ode, Humbly Inscribed to the Queen,” stanza 17, in Samuel Johnson (editor), The Works of the English Poets, London, 1779, Volume 30, p. 254,[2]
      Vain now the tales which fabling poets tell,
      That wavering Conquest still desires to rove!
      In Marlborough’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,[3]
      He fables, yet speaks truth.
  2. (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.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book VI, lines 288-292,[4]
      [] err not, that so shall end
      The strife which thou callest evil, but we style
      The strife of glory; which we mean to win,
      Or turn this Heaven itself into the Hell
      Thou fablest []
    • 1691, Arthur Gorges (translator), The Wisdom of the Ancients by Francis Bacon (1609), London, “Cassandra, or, Divination,” [5]
      The Poets Fable, That Apollo being enamoured of Cassandra, was by her many shifts and cunning slights still deluded in his Desire []
    Synonyms: make up, invent, feign, devise

Translations[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French fable, from Latin fabula.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

fable f (plural fables)

  1. fable, story

Synonyms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Old French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin fabula.

Noun[edit]

fable f (oblique plural fables, nominative singular fable, nominative plural fables)

  1. fable, story

Synonyms[edit]


Spanish[edit]

Verb[edit]

fable

  1. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of fablar.
  2. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of fablar.
  3. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of fablar.
  4. Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of fablar.