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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

an old wives' tale

a piece of advice or an idea which a lot of people believed in the past but which we now know is wrong It's an old wives' tale that drinking alcohol before you go to bed helps you sleep.
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
References in classic literature ?
So I appointed them to meet me the next morning; and, in the meantime, they should let their wives know the meaning of the marriage law; and that it was not only to prevent any scandal, but also to oblige them that they should not forsake them, whatever might happen.
He told them he doubted they were but indifferent Christians themselves; that they had but little knowledge of God or of His ways, and, therefore, he could not expect that they had said much to their wives on that head yet; but that unless they would promise him to use their endeavours with their wives to persuade them to become Christians, and would, as well as they could, instruct them in the knowledge and belief of God that made them, and to worship Jesus Christ that redeemed them, he could not marry them; for he would have no hand in joining Christians with savages, nor was it consistent with the principles of the Christian religion, and was, indeed, expressly forbidden in God's law.
They told me it was very true what the gentleman said, that they were very indifferent Christians themselves, and that they had never talked to their wives about religion.
I perceived they were all stupidly ignorant as to matters of religion, as much as I was when I went rambling away from my father; yet there were none of them backward to hear what had been said; and all of them seriously promised that they would talk with their wives about it, and do their endeavours to persuade them to turn Christians.
Upon this discourse, however, and their promising, as above, to endeavour to persuade their wives to embrace Christianity, he married the two other couple; but Will Atkins and his wife were not yet come in.
According to the police,Venkatappa ( 65) had two wives because of which there were frequent altercations in the family.
So, when he died, both wives and the son claimed the insurance.
I loved living in a big family, with a husband who has wives from different places," said Altaf, explaining that when there are four women from different areas -- Sana'a, Amran, Ibb and Taiz -- the house collects different cultures, which is good for the children.
Up against all these factors, some medieval wives might have found their fates difficult to accept.
4) Clement of Alexandria explains that those wives functioned as evangelistic co-partners: "It was through them that the Lord's teaching penetrated also the women's quarters without any scandal being aroused.
The McDowells attended President Ronald Reagan's first inauguration, bringing 32 African-American clergymen and their wives, the result of McDowell's involvement in an evaluation of veterans services in California when Reagan was governor.
Roughly three-quarters of the husbands and two-thirds of the wives were hospitalized at least once during the study period.
Spangler's motivation to kill centered around the anticipated gain of eliminating his wives and children.
Plenty, says Karen Houppert, a Village Voice writer who spent two years interviewing a group of wives living at cold, windswept Fort Drum army base in upstate New York, as well as wives at other bases around the country.
However, with recent advances for gay rights, including the fall of sodomy laws and the legalization of same-sex marriage, many married gay men now see the possibility of a gay life that didn't exist before, and they are coming out and leaving their wives.