old wives' tale

old wives' tale
noun
a bit of lore passed on by word of mouth (Freq. 1)
Hypernyms: ↑lore, ↑traditional knowledge

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a traditional belief, story, or idea that is often of a superstitious nature.
[1670-80]

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old wives' tale
1. A superstitious or misleading story, explanation or precept
2. Any extraordinary tale that makes demands on one's credulity
• • •
Main Entry:tale

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old wives’ tale UK US noun [countable] [singular old wives’ tale plural old wives’ tales]
a traditional belief that many people think is wrong or silly because there is no scientific proof of it
Thesaurus: thoughts, ideas and beliefssynonym

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old wives' tale,
a foolish story; silly or superstitious belief: »

This [body of anthropological fact] came from travelers, missionaries, and soldiers, and formed a collection in which careful and precise description was often combined with folklore and old wives' tales (Beals and Hoijer).

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n. a superstition or traditional belief that is regarded as unscientific or incorrect

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noun, pl ⋯ tales [count]
disapproving : a common belief about something that is not based on facts and that is usually false

Frogs won't give you warts. That's just an old wives' tale.

the old wives' tale about the full moon causing people to act crazy

— compare superstition

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • old wives' tale — old wives tales N COUNT An old wives tale is a traditional belief which is incorrect. Ann Bradley dispels the old wives tales and gives the medical facts …   English dictionary

  • old wives’ tale — [n] superstition fairy story, fallacy, false belief, folklore, folk tale, legend, lore, myth, notion, tall story, tall tale; concepts 282,689 …   New thesaurus

  • old wives' tale — old wives ,tale noun count a traditional belief that many people think is wrong or silly because there is no scientific proof of it …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • old wives' tale — A proverb or piece of advice that is commonly accepted as truth and is handed down the generations, but is sometimes false …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • old wives' tale — old′ wives ′ tale n. a traditional, often superstitious, belief or story …   From formal English to slang

  • old wives' tale — ► NOUN ▪ a widely held traditional belief that is now thought to be unscientific or incorrect …   English terms dictionary

  • old wives' tale — n. a silly story or superstitious belief …   English World dictionary

  • Old wives' tale — For the English novel, see The Old Wives Tale. An old wives tale is a type of urban legend, similar to a proverb, which is generally passed down by old wives to a younger generation. Such tales usually consist of superstition, folklore or… …   Wikipedia

  • old wives' tale — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms old wives tale : singular old wives tale plural old wives tales a traditional belief that many people think is wrong or silly because there is no scientific proof of it …   English dictionary

  • old wives' tale —    A traditional belief or idea which has been proved wrong by science is called an old wives tale.     The belief that chocolate causes acne is an old wives tale …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

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