Definition of parable in US English:



  • A simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.

    • ‘The parables of Jesus metaphorically break open myths and allow us to reimagine a new world.’
    • ‘At the table he tells a parable in which he offers a lesson for the guests and a lesson for the hosts.’
    • ‘In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus indicates that some will be condemned.’
    • ‘The parable Jesus told about the prodigal son shows us what love means.’
    • ‘The parable he quotes, as with many of the parables from the Gospels, is symbolic in nature.’
    • ‘Jesus' use of parables also shows us that stories are not just for children or the unsophisticated.’
    • ‘As with many of his parables, Jesus uses extreme examples to make his point.’
    • ‘Similarly, the parables in Scripture are stories meant to help us think and act with Jesus.’
    • ‘Jesus Christ sometimes used the camel in parables.’
    • ‘A request thrown at Jesus from the crowd sets the context of the parable of the rich fool.’
    • ‘Bringing a literal mind to the interpretations of Jesus' parables is usually not encouraged.’
    • ‘Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing.’
    • ‘In each gospel some of the parables are linked explicitly to Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom of God.’
    • ‘He identifies the parable of the Prodigal Son as a story which has profoundly shaped Christianity.’
    • ‘He would often tell a little parable to illustrate in simple language the thoughts that came into his head.’
    • ‘Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.’
    • ‘In the parable of the unmerciful servant the story is told of a man who owed his master millions.’
    • ‘Here, as in other parables, Jesus uses a symbol to turn our understanding upside down.’
    • ‘The Good Samaritan was a great parable and really gave me a newer aspect.’
    • ‘The lord in the gospel parable of the wedding feast told his servants to fill his table by compelling people to come in.’
    allegory, moral story, moral tale, fable, lesson, exemplum
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Middle English: from Old French parabole, from an ecclesiastical Latin sense ‘discourse, allegory’ of Latin parabola ‘comparison’, from Greek parabolē (see parabola).