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[mith] /mɪθ/
a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, especially one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature.
stories or matter of this kind:
realm of myth.
any invented story, idea, or concept:
His account of the event is pure myth.
an imaginary or fictitious thing or person.
an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution.
1820-30; < Late Latin mȳthos < Greek mŷthos story, word
Related forms
countermyth, noun
Can be confused
fable, legend, myth (see synonym study at legend)
1. See legend. 3. fiction, fantasy, talltale. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for myths
  • myths and misinformation can range from the merely nonsensical to the downright dangerous.
  • The great white shark: an animal of myths and legend.
  • The anti-immunization crowd clings to well-worn myths.
  • In this lesson, students will investigate the truth behind common myths about sharks and shark attacks.
  • Players' relationships with bats have inspired any number of myths and tales.
  • Here are counterpoints to five prevalent myths about ethanol.
  • One of the myths about inoculation was that it did not produce a true smallpox in the patient but a spurious case of chicken pox.
  • For an industry that's built on science, the technology world sure has its share of myths.
  • As attempts to locate him came up short, the legend blossomed into myths of an entire city made of gold.
  • Other myths are represented on inch-high cylinder seals that deliver a visual impact way beyond their size.
British Dictionary definitions for myths


  1. a story about superhuman beings of an earlier age taken by preliterate society to be a true account, usually of how natural phenomena, social customs, etc, came into existence
  2. another word for mythology (sense 1), mythology (sense 3)
a person or thing whose existence is fictional or unproven
(in modern literature) a theme or character type embodying an idea: Hemingway's myth of the male hero
(philosophy) (esp in the writings of Plato) an allegory or parable
Word Origin
C19: via Late Latin from Greek muthos fable, word
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for myths



1830, from French Mythe (1818) and directly from Modern Latin mythus, from Greek mythos "speech, thought, story, myth, anything delivered by word of mouth," of unknown origin.

Myths are "stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial ... the result is religious legend, not myth." [J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254]
General sense of "untrue story, rumor" is from 1840.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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