Definition of fabliau in English:



  • A metrical tale, typically a bawdily humorous one, of a type found chiefly in early French poetry.

    • ‘They tell tales ranging from courtly romances full of gallant knights and maidens-in-distress to rude fabliaux telling of the perils of drink, fighting and lust!’
    • ‘Fabliaux were comical and often grotesque stories in which the characters most often succeed by means of their sharp wits.’
    • ‘Fabliaux were characterized by vivid detail and realistic observation and were usually comic, coarse, and often cynical, especially in their treatment of women.’
    • ‘‘The Reeve's Tale’ is a fabliau about two clerks who are robbed by a miller of some of the meal which they take to his mill to be ground, and who take their vengeance by sleeping with the miller's wife and daughter.’
    • ‘Peasants form a large part in the parody and satire of medieval Europe from the fabliaux to plays.’


From Old French ( Picard dialect) fabliaux, plural of fablel short fable diminutive of fable.