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From Ancient Greek μῦθος (mûthos, word, humour, companion, speech, account, rumour, fable). English since 1830.



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.
  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.
    • 2016 October 23, John Oliver, “Opiods”, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 3, episode 27, HBO:
      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.
  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.
    • Ld. Lytton
      As for Mrs. Primmins's bones, they had been myths these twenty years.

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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.