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 ?
To old wives tales some old folk cling, They trust in things beyond the brain.
BRITONS have become a nation of self-styled nutrition experts, but most of us are living on a diet of half-truths and old wives tales in pursuit of a healthy eating regime, a survey claims today.
The books editor, Alasdair McWhirter, said, "The powerful food lobbies and self-styled experts have left a legacy of confusion with the public, who are suffering from a diet of half-truths, old wives tales and misleading information.
From the many myths surrounding important figure Moses, to taking the book of Genesis literally, to answering why Christians and those of other faiths believed various old wives tales about the Jewish people, "Did Moses Really Have Horns?
More than half of the West Midlands' population resort to following old wives tales rather than doctors' advice to ward off flu, according to new Government research.
Old wives tales or not, the following may just give us an insight into the what's in store over the next few months.
I The chief executive of Inghams holiday company, Litsa Constantinou, says that - according to a Greek Cypriot old wives tale - the more wasps buzzing around means a colder, snowier winter ahead.
Kirkland Lake -- Keeping an open mind and going beyond the myths and old wives tales built up in mining exploration has led to significant discoveries for Kirkland Lake Gold Inc.
Researchers at the Hopkins school of public health told 104 pregnant women to use whatever method they chose to guess the sex of their babies, including old wives tales or hunches.
The books editor, Alasdair McWhirter, said, 'The powerful food lobbies and self-styled experts have left a legacy of confusion with the public, who are suffering from a diet of half-truths, old wives tales and misleading information.
Old Wives Tales, Spit, Polish and Elbow Grease by Carol Cooke, is published by Business Education Publishers Limited at pounds 4.