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

old wives' tale

A superstitious story. This term actually dates back to Plato, who repeated the phrase in a number of writings and was so cited by Erasmus. In English a version of it appeared in John Trevisa’s translation of Polycronicon, “And useth telynges as olde wifes dooth” (1387), and then began to be used frequently from the sixteenth century on. “These are trifles and mere old wives’ tales” wrote Christopher Marlowe in Doctor Faustus (ca. 1589). Arnold Bennett used it as the title of a novel (1908), and this sex-and age-biased cliché persists to the present day.
See also: old, tale
References in periodicals archive ?
I loved all the old wives tales and people looking at my bump trying to work out if it was a boy or girl in there.
PROVERBS, adages, old wives tales. Call them what you will, but it is amazing how accurate they prove to be most of the time?
Gather round and listen to some fascinating tales from times gone by or take on the 'Old Wives Tales' trail and sort fact from fiction.
In our video above - and using some great readers' picture - we've looked at some of the common beliefs and old wives tales about spiders to see whether the truth really is as bad as we imagine.
To old wives tales some old folk cling, They trust in things beyond the brain.
So, are the LA Country authorities listening to old wives tales? No!
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.
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?" is intriguing and enlightening about a people's history.
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.
Bubbe Meises or 'old wives tales' provide a range of Jewish myths and misconceptions which have been handed down between generations: and BUBBE MEISES examines the origins of these misconceptions and how they have influenced Jewish peoples over the centuries.
Old wives tales or not, the following may just give us an insight into the what's in store over the next few months.
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.