• enPR: fā′bəl, IPA: /ˈfeɪbəl/

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.
    Synonyms: morality play
  2. Any story told to excite wonder; common talk; the theme of talk.
    • 1 Timothy 4:7,
      Old wives' fables.
    Synonyms: legend
  3. Fiction; untruth; falsehood.
  4. The plot, story, or connected series of events forming the subject of an epic or dramatic poem.
Translations Translations
  • Russian: небыли́ца

fable (fables, present participle fabling; 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,
      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,
      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,
      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,[https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Paradise_Lost_(1674)/Book_VI]
      […] 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,”
      The Poets Fable, That Apollo being enamoured of Cassandra, was by her many shifts and cunning slights still deluded in his Desire […]
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses, Chapter II,
      Fabled by the daughters of memory. And yet it was in some way if not as memory fabled it. A phrase, then, of impatience, thud of Blake’s wings of excess. […]
    Synonyms: make up, invent, feign, devise

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