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parable

[par-uh-buh l] /ˈpær ə bəl/
noun
1.
a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.
2.
a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like.
Origin of parable
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English parabil < Late Latin parabola comparison, parable, word < Greek parabolḗ comparison, equivalent to para- para-1 + bolḗ a throwing
Related forms
parabolist
[puh-rab-uh-list] /pəˈræb ə lɪst/ (Show IPA),
noun
Synonyms
1. allegory, homily, apologue.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for parables
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They are even smaller than some,” said she, “but I speak in parables like a Hebrew prophet.

    Catriona Robert Louis Stevenson
  • What is true of proverbs, is true of all fables, parables, and allegories.

    Nature Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • God, therefore, spoke unto the Jews in parables, in types and shadows.

  • Whittier said, "But do they not always have an application, like the parables?"

    Whittier-land Samuel T. Pickard
  • His parables, however, were sometimes used to baffle the unteachable and critical.

British Dictionary definitions for parables

parable

/ˈpærəbəl/
noun
1.
a short story that uses familiar events to illustrate a religious or ethical point related adjectives parabolic parabolical
2.
any of the stories of this kind told by Jesus Christ
Derived Forms
parabolist (pəˈræbəlɪst) noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French parabole, from Latin parabola comparison, from Greek parabolē analogy, from paraballein to throw alongside, from para-1 + ballein to throw
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 parables

parable

n.

mid-13c., parabol, modern form from early 14c., "saying or story in which something is expressed in terms of something else," from Old French parable "parable, parabolic style in writing" (13c.), from Latin parabola "comparison," from Greek parabole "a comparison, parable," literally "a throwing beside," hence "a juxtaposition," from para- "alongside" (see para- (1)) + bole "a throwing, casting, beam, ray," related to ballein "to throw" (see ballistics).

Replaced Old English bispell. In Vulgar Latin, parabola took on the meaning "word," hence Italian parlare, French parler "to speak" (see parley (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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parables in Culture

parables definition


In the New Testament, the stories told by Jesus to convey his religious message; they include the parable of the Good Samaritan and that of the Prodigal Son.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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parables in the Bible

(Gr. parabole), a placing beside; a comparison; equivalent to the Heb. mashal, a similitude. In the Old Testament this is used to denote (1) a proverb (1 Sam. 10:12; 24:13; 2 Chr. 7:20), (2) a prophetic utterance (Num. 23:7; Ezek. 20:49), (3) an enigmatic saying (Ps. 78:2; Prov. 1:6). In the New Testament, (1) a proverb (Mark 7:17; Luke 4:23), (2) a typical emblem (Heb. 9:9; 11:19), (3) a similitude or allegory (Matt. 15:15; 24:32; Mark 3:23; Luke 5:36; 14:7); (4) ordinarily, in a more restricted sense, a comparison of earthly with heavenly things, "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning," as in the parables of our Lord. Instruction by parables has been in use from the earliest times. A large portion of our Lord's public teaching consisted of parables. He himself explains his reasons for this in his answer to the inquiry of the disciples, "Why speakest thou to them in parables?" (Matt. 13:13-15; Mark 4:11, 12; Luke 8:9, 10). He followed in so doing the rule of the divine procedures, as recorded in Matt. 13:13. The parables uttered by our Lord are all recorded in the synoptical (i.e., the first three) Gospels. The fourth Gospel contains no parable properly so called, although the illustration of the good shepherd (John 10:1-16) has all the essential features of a parable. (See List of Parables in Appendix.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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