Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A usually short narrative making an edifying or cautionary point and often employing as characters animals that speak and act like humans.
  • n. A story about legendary persons and exploits.
  • n. A falsehood; a lie.
  • transitive v. To recount as if true.
  • intransitive v. Archaic To compose fables.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fictitious narration intended to enforce some useful truth or precept, usually with animals, birds etc as characters; an apologue. Prototypically, Aesop's Fables.
  • n. Any story told to excite wonder; common talk; the theme of talk.
  • n. Fiction; untruth; falsehood.
  • v. To compose fables; hence, to write or speak fiction ; to write or utter what is not true.
  • v. To feign; to invent; to devise, and speak of, as true or real; to tell of falsely.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A Feigned story or tale, intended to instruct or amuse; a fictitious narration intended to enforce some useful truth or precept; an apologue. See the Note under apologue.
  • n. The plot, story, or connected series of events, forming the subject of an epic or dramatic poem.
  • n. Any story told to excite wonder; common talk; the theme of talk.
  • n. Fiction; untruth; falsehood.
  • intransitive v. To compose fables; hence, to write or speak fiction ; to write or utter what is not true.
  • transitive v. To feign; to invent; to devise, and speak of, as true or real; to tell of falsely.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To talk.
  • To speak or write fiction; tell imaginary stories.
  • To speak falsely; misrepresent; lie: often used euphemistically.
  • To feign; invent; devise or fabricate; describe or relate feigningly.
  • n. A story; a tale; particularly, a feigned or invented story or tale, intended to instruct or amuse; a fictitious narrative devised to enforce some useful truth or precept, or to introduce indirectly some opinion, in which imaginary persons or beings as well as animals, and even inanimate things, are represented as speakers or actors; an apologue.
  • n. A story or history untrue in fact or substance, invented or “developed by popular or poetic fancy or superstition and to some extent or at one time current in popular belief as true or real; a legend; a myth.
  • n. A story fabricated to deceive; a fiction; a falsehood; a lie: as, the story is all a fable.
  • n. The plot or connected series of events in an epic or dramatic poem founded on imagination.
  • n. Subject of talk; gossip; byword.
  • n. Synonyms Allegory, Parable, etc. (see simile).
  • n. Invention, fabrication, hoax.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a deliberately false or improbable account
  • n. a short moral story (often with animal characters)
  • n. a story about mythical or supernatural beings or events

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin fābula, from fārī, to speak; see bhā-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French fable, from Latin fabula, from fari ("to speak, say"). See Ban, and compare fabulous, fame. (Wiktionary)

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