[fey-buh l] /ˈfeɪ bəl/

a short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters; apologue:
the fable of the tortoise and the hare; Aesop’s fables.
a story not founded on fact:
This biography is largely a self-laudatory fable.
a story about supernatural or extraordinary persons or incidents; legend:
the fables of gods and heroes.
legends or myths collectively:
the heroes of Greek fable.
an untruth; falsehood:
This boast of a cure is a medical fable.
the plot of an epic, a dramatic poem, or a play.
idle talk:
old wives’ fables.
verb (used without object), fabled, fabling.
to tell or write fables.
to speak falsely; lie:
to fable about one’s past.
verb (used with object), fabled, fabling.
to describe as if actually so; talk about as if true:
She is fabled to be the natural daughter of a king.
a short moral story, esp one with animals as characters
a false, fictitious, or improbable account; fiction or lie
a story or legend about supernatural or mythical characters or events
legends or myths collectively related adjective fabulous
(archaic) the plot of a play or of an epic or dramatic poem
to relate or tell (fables)
(intransitive) to speak untruthfully; tell lies
(transitive) to talk about or describe in the manner of a fable: ghosts are fabled to appear at midnight

c.1300, “falsehood, lie, pretense,” from Old French fable (12c.) “story, fable, tale; fiction, lie, falsehood,” from Latin fabula “story, play, fable, narrative, account, tale,” literally “that which is told,” related to fari “speak, tell,” from PIE root *bha- (2) “speak” (see fame (n.)). Sense of “animal story” (early 14c.) comes from Aesop. In modern folklore terms, defined as “a short, comic tale making a moral point about human nature, usually through animal characters behaving in human ways.” Most trace to Greece or India.

applied in the New Testament to the traditions and speculations, “cunningly devised fables”, of the Jews on religious questions (1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:14; 2 Pet. 1:16). In such passages the word means anything false and unreal. But the word is used as almost equivalent to parable. Thus we have (1) the fable of Jotham, in which the trees are spoken of as choosing a king (Judg. 9:8-15); and (2) that of the cedars of Lebanon and the thistle as Jehoash’s answer to Amaziah (2 Kings 14:9).


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