Definition of fairy tale in US English:

fairy tale

(also fairy story)


  • 1A children's story about magical and imaginary beings and lands.

    • ‘There's constant repetition which, at times, gives the writing the soothing familiarity of a fairy tale.’
    • ‘This is a satisfying variation on the usual fairy tale in which knights compete for the hand of a princess.’
    • ‘All of this so far might sound like a fairy tale had it not been for a tragic surprise.’
    • ‘Vikas Rai Chauhan has brought alive a fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel in the celebrations.’
    • ‘In the fairy tale, the match girl, unable to sell any matches, freezes to death in the street.’
    • ‘Whether it was true or not, I preferred it to remain a fairy tale - like that of Santa Claus.’
    • ‘He spent summers at Bridge House in Arncliffe and was inspired by the dales to write his fairy tale The Water Babies.’
    • ‘Swan Lake was based on a German fairy tale and set to music by Tchaikovsky.’
    • ‘It is not often I compare my life to a fairy tale but I'm feeling like a character from Hans Christian Andersen.’
    • ‘I dreamed of living in a flat like that and used to spend hours looking at the pictures like a child immersed in a fairy tale.’
    • ‘It has a charm and simplicity you'd expect to find in a fairy tale.’
    • ‘My favourite fairy tale was The Little Mermaid and that was because Ariel got her prince just by loving him.’
    • ‘The snow abruptly stops and the world has changed into marzipan, the fairy tale complete.’
    • ‘Its ideal form is the fairy tale, a container of myth related in the simplest language.’
    • ‘It is a fairy tale with very rich, detailed characters who have history and depth to them.’
    • ‘As such, it may be a fairy tale but it has a good pedagogical ring to it.’
    • ‘Now is an entirely new place, as though I had stepped through a window into a fairy tale.’
    • ‘The impression that I got from the movie was that it was only based on the fairy tale.’
    • ‘The Emperor's New Clothes is a very literal title, having nothing to do with the fairy tale.’
    • ‘She was due to play Cinderella in a school rendition of the classic fairy tale, but shocked staff cancelled the production.’
    fairy story, folk tale, folk story, traditional story, myth, legend, romance, fantasy, fable, fiction
    folk tale, folk story, traditional story, myth, legend, romance, fantasy, fable, fiction
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    1. 1.1often as modifier Something resembling a fairy tale in being magical, idealized, or extremely happy.
      ‘a fairy-tale romance’
      • ‘Jack suspected she was rather taken with the romantic fairy-tale figure he cut.’
      • ‘They're making over brides and their fiancés to create the ultimate fairy-tale weddings.’
      • ‘Refreshed, we decide upon the long walk up to the fairy-tale clocktower atop the hill overlooking the town.’
      • ‘This subtle but persistent political theme is well served by the author's tart humor, as is the fairy-tale romance.’
      • ‘Vidocq's great achievement was to confer his magical, fairy-tale prestige on a branch of government administration.’
      • ‘Our room is a fairy-tale palace: four balconies, two planter chairs, a cane sofa set, a piano - yes, a piano!’
      • ‘From as far as Poland to as close as Punjab - musicians from all corners of the globe are descending on Delhi to give a fairy-tale finale to this year.’
      • ‘Last week Mittal held a fairy-tale wedding for his one and only daughter, Vanisha.’
      • ‘It's been a fairy-tale story to go from club coach to national coach in the sport I love.’
      • ‘It is a fairy-tale kingdom without class warfare, racial violence, or religious hypocrisy.’
      • ‘In true fairy-tale fashion, the book was an immediate success.’
      • ‘And she's locked in the fight of her life to keep her fairy-tale fortune her own.’
      • ‘His eyes twinkle like a fairy-tale grandfather's in his round, tanned face and he makes a kind of slurping, appreciative sound.’
      • ‘In my case, it's something to do with a childhood longing to be a fairy-tale princess - and fairy tale princesses were never brunette.’
      • ‘The truth is that fairy-tale endings are probably very few and far between.’
      • ‘In the old city is a wealth of Muslim architecture and fairy-tale Nizam palaces, including one that's now a hospital.’
      • ‘We've been together for over ten years now, and it's still a fairy-tale romance.’
      • ‘Barns Tower, with its cosy lounge and fairy-tale bedroom, is the perfect winter hideaway, writes Sophie Cooke’
      • ‘It is a fairy-tale moment for a modern-day Cinderella.’
      • ‘I can't buy the fairy-tale presentation of Em we see in the film because it's completely at odds with what he's worked so hard to make us believe about him up til now.’
    2. 1.2 A fabricated story, especially one intended to deceive.
      • ‘And that was a big surprise to many people who expected Russia Today to go and tell all the fairy tales about Russia to the world.’
      • ‘This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen.’
      • ‘That strikes me as a fairy tale.’
      • ‘As the UN report demonstrates, it was all a horrible fairy tale.’
      • ‘They had their fairy tales, of course, but they were grossly inaccurate pieces of fiction that had long since strayed from the actual facts.’
      • ‘Just don't start believing the fairytales about spring records meaning anything.’
      lie, white lie, fib, half-truth, untruth, falsity, falsehood, story, tall story, tall tale, made-up story, trumped-up story, fake news, fabrication, alternative fact, invention, piece of fiction, falsification
      lie, white lie, fib, half-truth, untruth, falsity, falsehood, story, tall story, fairy story, tall tale, made-up story, trumped-up story, fake news, fabrication, invention, piece of fiction, falsification, alternative fact
      View synonyms


fairy tale

/ˈfɛri teɪl//ˈferē tāl/