old wives' tale


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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

old wives' tale

Fig. a myth or superstition. You really don't believe that stuff about starving a cold do you? It's just an old wives' tale.
See also: old, tale

old wives' tale

A superstition, as in Toads cause warts? That's an old wives' tale. This expression was already known in ancient Greece, and a version in English was recorded in 1387. Despite invoking bigoted stereotypes of women and old people, it survives.
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 ?
ONE of the barmiest old wives' tales says mums who want a boy should only eat bread crusts.
I had read about the old wives' tale that a spicy curry can help speed up delivery," the Sun quoted teacher Esther, 28, as saying.
ATHIS old wives' tale does have some truth in that the nails and razor blades will go rusty and release iron that is essential for unlocking the nutrients that influence the flower colour of hydrangeas.
There is a widespread notion that the amount of water applied to the soil around a fruit tree affects the sweetness of the fruit, but this seems to be nothing more than an old wives' tale.
Medics in America have proved the old wives' tale does work and have used tweezers to pluck out skin-burrowing fly larvae when they emerged to gobble up the bacon fat.
Some also say you should place a cold object on the neck base, which is also an old wives' tale.
And now, two researchers are trying to find how much truth is there behind the old wives' tale.
Special properties: Old wives' tale has it that if you write your name on abay leaf and then burn it preferably not one you've earmarked for that chicken casserole your wish comes true.
There is an old wives' tale that supposedly predicts a baby's gender based on how fast or slow their heart is beating.
John Nolan, 23, believes the old wives' tale - carrots help you see in the dark - may hold the key to saving the sight of 1,400 Irish people a year.
There's an old wives' tale that if you have a lot of heartburn during your pregnancy that you're going to have a baby with a lot of hair.
With parsley always leave about a third of the plant intact so it can quickly recover - there's an old wives' tale that whoever wears the trousers indoors has most success with this.
GRANNY'S cod liver oil remedy is one old wives' tale that should be heeded for the sake of our health, it seems.
A NEW study has confirmed the old wives' tale that the depth of a man's voice IS linked to the size of his testicles.
Critics dismiss Moorcroft's theory as "an old wives' tale.