AskDefine | Define myth

Dictionary Definition

myth n : a traditional story accepted as history; serves to explain the world view of a people

User Contributed Dictionary



From μῦθος (mythos) "word, humour, companion, speech, account, rumour, fable". English since 1830.



  1. A story of a great but unknown age which embodies a belief regarding some fact or phenomenon of experience, and in which often the forces of nature and of the soul are personified; an ancient story of a god, a hero, the origin of a race, etc.; a wonder story of prehistoric origin.
  2. A person or thing existing only in imagination, or whose actual existence is not verifiable. This word originates from the Sanskrit word "Mithya"; with the same meaning [AR]
  3. A belief or story that illustrates a cultural ideal; stories that help explain how to live. Example: Higher Education Myth: If you go to college, receive your degree, you will be a smarter person and make a lot of money.
  4. A real time tactical (RTT) computer game originally created by Bungie Software


thing only in imagination
common belief





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Extensive Definition

Myth is derived from the Greek word mythos, which means "word of mouth."

Academic usage

In the academic fields of mythology, mythography, or folkloristics, a myth is a sacred story usually concerning the origins of the world or how the world and the creatures in it came to be their present form. The active beings in myths are generally gods and heroes. Myths are often said to take place before recorded history begins. A myth is a sacred narrative in the sense that it contributes to systems of thought and values, and that people attach religious or spiritual significance to it. Use of the term by scholars does not imply that the narrative is either true or false.

Popular usage

In popular use, a myth is something that is widely thought to be false. This usage, which is often pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as being incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. Because of this usage, many people take offense when the religious narratives they believe to be true are called myths (see religion and mythology for more information). This usage is frequently confused with legend, fiction, fairy tale, folklore, fable, and urban legend, each of which has a distinct meaning in academia.myths are on the earth to explain to the people how thing got on the earth on why they happen
Urban myth is an alternate term for urban legend.

See also

myth in Afrikaans: Mite
myth in Arabic: أسطورة
myth in Bengali: উপকথা
myth in Bulgarian: Мит
myth in Czech: Mýtus
myth in Danish: Myte
myth in German: Mythos
myth in Estonian: Müüt
myth in Modern Greek (1453-): Μύθος
myth in Spanish: Mito
myth in Esperanto: Mito
myth in French: Mythe
myth in Scottish Gaelic: Ur-sgeulachdan
myth in Croatian: Mit
myth in Indonesian: Mitos
myth in Italian: Mito
myth in Hebrew: מיתוס
myth in Javanese: Mitos
myth in Georgian: მითი
myth in Luxembourgish: Mthsi
myth in Hungarian: Mítosz
myth in Macedonian: Митови
myth in Dutch: Mythe
myth in Japanese: 神話
myth in Norwegian: Myte
myth in Polish: Mit
myth in Portuguese: Mito
myth in Romanian: Mit
myth in Russian: Миф
myth in Simple English: Myth
myth in Slovak: Báj
myth in Finnish: Myytti
myth in Swedish: Myt
myth in Ukrainian: Міф

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Marchen, Mishnah, Spiritus Mundi, Sunna, Talmud, Western, Western story, Westerner, adventure story, allegory, ancient wisdom, apologue, apparition, archetypal myth, archetypal pattern, bedtime story, brainchild, bubble, canard, chimera, cock-and-bull story, common law, concoction, creation, custom, delirium, detective story, eidolon, epic, extravaganza, fable, fabliau, fabrication, fairy tale, falsehood, fancy, fantasque, fantasy, fib, fiction, figment, folk motif, folk story, folklore, folktale, forgery, gest, ghost story, hallucination, history, horse opera, idle fancy, illusion, imagery, imagination, imagining, immemorial usage, insubstantial image, invention, legend, lie, lore, love story, maggot, make-believe, mystery, mystery story, mythology, mythos, nursery tale, parable, phantasm, phantom, prevarication, racial memory, romance, saga, science fiction, shocker, sick fancy, space fiction, space opera, story, suspense story, tall tale, thick-coming fancies, thriller, tradition, traditionalism, traditionality, trip, untruth, vapor, vision, whim, whimsy, whodunit, whopper, wildest dreams, work of fiction
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