1. A usually short narrative making an edifying or cautionary point and often employing as characters animals that speak and act like humans.
2. A story about legendary persons and exploits.
3. A falsehood; a lie.
v. fa·bled, fa·bling, fa·bles
To recount as if true.
To compose fables.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin fābula, from fārī, to speak; see bhā-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.