an old wives' tale

old wives' tale

A now-debunked story or idea that was once believed, often superstitiously. How can you believe in that old wives' tale? Oh, that's just an old wives' tale! A broken mirror does not guarantee seven years' bad luck.
See also: old, tale

an old wives' tale

COMMON An old wives' tale is a belief that a lot of people have that is based on traditional ideas, often ones which have been proved to be incorrect. My mother used to tell me to feed a cold and starve a fever. Is it just an old wives' tale? It's not just an old wives' tale, you know, that full moons and madness go together.
See also: old, tale

an old wives' tale

a widely held traditional belief that is now thought to be unscientific or incorrect.
The phrase (and its earlier variant old wives' fable ) is recorded from the early 16th century, with the earliest example being from Tyndale's translation of the Bible.
See also: old, tale

an old ˈwives’ tale

(disapproving) an old idea or belief that has proved not to be scientific: When you’re expecting a baby, people tell you all sorts of old wives’ tales.The belief that make-up ruins your skin is just an old wives’ tale.
See also: old, tale
References in periodicals archive ?
According to an old wives' tale this can be linked to babies being born with an above-average amount of hair.
There's an old wives' tale that supposedly predicts the baby's gender based on how fast or slow their heart is beating.
No, it's not an old wives' tale told to Jewish children to keep them on the straight and narrow.
We didn't want to find out but the midwife was convinced it was a girl due to an old wives' tale - apparently if the heart beats faster it's a girl.
This week's winner is Pauline O'Dowd, of Nottingham, who says: "I thought it was an old wives' tale that yucca plants like tea.
It's an old wives' tale that cows lie down when it's about to rain.
There's an old wives' tale that if you get heartburn during your pregnancy your baby will be born with a lot of hair - I had really bad heartburn.
I think it's an old wives' tale - it's just what your mother told you but nobody really knows.
There's an old wives' tale in that country that the team who take the pitch first always loses.
She thought it was an old wives' tale when people told her that if a contractor says a job is going to take six weeks, it really means 12 weeks.
It is an old wives' tale that mayonnaise causes food to spoil, because mayonnaise is high in acid and acid retards bacteria growth," Wilson said.
RE: SMACKING: ``Spare the rod and spoil the child'' is not an old wives' tale as stated by Sue Woolmore, NSPCC Public Policy Adviser for the North (Daily Post, November 9 ).
THE wise advice to "feed a cold and starve a fever" may be more than just an old wives' tale, it was reported today.
Now boffins believe they've made a major breakthrough - thanks to an old wives' tale.
Although the proposition sounds like an old wives' tale, Shoghag Lajinian, chief resident at the SUNY Health Science Center of Brooklyn, N.