old wives' tale

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

In this context, the word "wives" means "women" not "married women." From Middle English wif ("woman"). This general sense of the term still continues today in words such as midwife and fishwife.

Noun[edit]

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old wives' tale (plural old wives' tales)

  1. A supposed truth that has been passed down by word of mouth
  2. A rumour, myth or superstition; something which is almost certainly untrue, despite acceptance by many.

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]