Basic+ Word of the Day: tale

tale (noun) LISTEN

A tale is a story about a real or imaginary incident.

  • The old soldiers got together and told tales about the war.
  • The tale of the tortoise and the hare reminds us to use our abilities wisely.

A tale can also be a lie.

  • Keith is telling tales about his ex-wife again.

Don't confuse it with

tail: the back part of an animal that forms a growth. Example: “The dog wagged its tail when the doorbell rang.”

Common uses

tell tales out of school: to gossip. Example: “I shouldn’t tell tales out of school, but Bob and Alice are getting a divorce.”

Related words

tattletale: someone who betrays another by telling secrets. Example: “Marcy is a tattletale. She told the teacher who was cheating on the test.”

In pop culture

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book by Margaret Atwood that is now a TV series. A tale is often an imagined story. Do you think this could actually happen? Watch the trailer.

There are other meanings of tale.
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