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 ?
| Verdict: Old wives' tale TIPS TO HELP YOU RECOVER If you find yourself going down with something, follow the tips below to help yourself recover from the common cold: | Rest up - Your body needs to fight off the illness.
The finding, in mice, suggests the old wives' tale about resisting the urge to scratch an itch has a scientific basis.
I've tried all the old wives' tale cures as well - like vinegar and sugar or breathing into a bag."
AN ancient old wives' tale is girls are more likely to be conceived in the afternoon and on an even day of the month, while boys are more likely at night and on odd days.
IT sounds like an old wives' tale, but carrots really DO help.
Enter your tale marking which category you're entering - either Old Wives' Tale for advice passed on by your grandma, your mum or his mum - or New Wives' Tale if your story is a modern myth.
There's an old wives' tale in that country that the team who take the pitch first always loses.
The old wives' tale of carrots helping you see in the dark is actually true - vegetables such as carrots and parsnips are high in Vitamin A, an essential vitamin in helping night vision.
But now university boffins claim the old wives' tale could actually be true - if you're cold you'll catch a cold.
Sleep researchers set out to disprove the old wives' tale that eating cheese before going to bed gives you nightmares.
ATHIS old wives' tale has some grounding in fact as the butter will encourage cats to groom themselves which relaxes them.
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.
It's not just an old wives' tale, according to Cardiff Met Office.