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

  • n. A moral fable, especially one having animals or inanimate objects as characters.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a short story with a moral, often involving talking animals or objects; a fable
  • n. use of fable to persuade the audience

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A story or relation of fictitious events, intended to convey some moral truth; a moral fable.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A story or relation of fictitious events intended to convey useful truths; a moral fable; an allegory.

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

  • n. a short moral story (often with animal characters)


French, from Latin apologus, from Greek apologos : apo-, apo- + logos, speech; see leg- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French apologue, from Latin apologus. (Wiktionary)


  • Though he acknowledges the delicacy of criticizing the Soviet regime, Eliot's political objection was that the only good guy in Orwell's allegory seemed to be Trotsky, and he didn't like Trotsky: Now I think my own dissatisfaction with this apologue is that the effect is simply one of negation.

    “Your Pigs Are Far More Intelligent”

  • On this occasion, Campobasso gave his opinion, couched in the apologue of the Traveller, the Adder, and the Fox; and reminded the Duke of the advice which Reynard gave to the man, that he should crush his mortal enemy, now that chance had placed his fate at his disposal.

    Quentin Durward

  • Professor Benfey, followed by Mr. Keith Falconer, discovers between the Æsopic and the Hindu apologue: — “In the former animals are allowed to act as animals: the latter makes them act as men in the form of animals.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • China, would for ever fix their literature — poetry, history and criticism,230 the apologue and the anecdote.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • We celebrate a national fable, an apologue we tell ourselves periodically to keep the myth of representative government alive.

    Free Speech Becoming Too Expensive

  • When you came afterwards to think over one of those wonderful evenings when he had talked for hours, almost without interruption, you hardly found more than an epigram, a fugitive flash of critical insight, an apologue or pretty story charmingly told.

    Oscar Wilde, His Life and Confessions

  • His talk took on a sort of autumnal richness of colour, and assumed a new width of range; he now used pathos as well as humour and generally brought in a story or apologue to lend variety to the entertainment.

    Oscar Wilde, His Life and Confessions

  • At the time this apologue amused me; in the light of later events it assumed a tragic significance.

    Oscar Wilde, His Life and Confessions

  • A less sanguine tone marks the close of the apologue in which Reason and Truth, her daughter, take a triumphant journey in France and elsewhere, about the time of the accession of Turgot.


  • It is an old saying, [2161] A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword: and many men are as much galled with a calumny, a scurrilous and bitter jest, a libel, a pasquil, satire, apologue, epigram, stage-play or the like, as with any misfortune whatsoever.

    Anatomy of Melancholy


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  • JM enjoys sitting on a good apologue until he falls off it.

    January 10, 2011