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 ?
We all know Great-Granny had something to say about how you presented yourself, but are her old wives' tales about lookin' good any help to you today?
Nan, queen of the old wives' tales, had a cure or treatment for everything.
But as NHS Kirklees finalises its annual anti-flu campaign half of Yorkshire folk say they will turn to old wives' tales to beat the bug.
While rules-of-thumb, like some old wives' tales, can have a modicum of truth, they can be significantly wild off the mark in valuing any given brand or distributor operation.
Think: Old wives' tales and urban legends are debunked.
Gay old wives' tales like "I can't get it 'cause I'm a top" and its evil twin "I won't get it if he pulls out" provide the unwary with a sort of idiot's reassurance.
At the time, many were the old wives' tales being circulated that sterility was the fate in store for all of us, but there was no panic (ribald comment, certainly
Scott Professor of English at the University of Southern California, had a keen ear for women's stories long before interest in contemporary, popular cultural forms of old wives' tales became voguish.
Some of the summer myths we grew up believing were Old Wives' Tales, and some were the prevailing thought at the time.
The survey, which questioned 2,000 British adults about health and wellbeing, showed that misconceptions and old wives' tales, including the myth that eating carrots improves night vision, prevail among the population when it comes to beliefs about common illnesses.
She did not say who they were, or why they said it, but if it is only myths and old wives' tales we can safely ignore it.
ONE of the barmiest old wives' tales says mums who want a boy should only eat bread crusts.
Carol, whose popular series of Old Wives' Tales is now in its fifth volume, will be at the Wednesday Heritage Club, in South Shields Central Library.