A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Fable (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 757

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 757

Fa'ble. n.s. [fable, French; fabula, Latin.]

  1. A feigned story intended to enforce some moral precept.

    Jotham's fable of the bees is the oldest extant, and as beautiful as any made since. Addison's Spectator.

  2. A fiction in general.

    Triptolemus, so sung the nine,
    Strew'd plenty from his cart divine;
    But, spite of all those fable makers,
    He never sow'd on Almaign acres.
    Dryden.

  3. A vitious or foolish fiction.

    But refuse profane and old wives fables. 1 Tim. iv. 7.

  4. The series or contexture of events which constitute a poem epick or dramatick.

    The moral is the first business of the poet: this being formed, he contrives such a design or fable as may be most suitable to the moral. Dryden's Dufresnoy.

    The first thing to be considered in an epick poem is the fable, which is perfect or imperfect, according as the action, which it relates, is more or less so. Addison's Spectator.

  5. A lye. This sense is merely familiar.

Sources: The Bible - 1. Timothy (6) · Addison, Joseph (408) · Dryden, John (788) · Spectator (140)

Attributes: French (385) · Latin (690) · Noun Substantive (1269)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Fable (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 26, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=2653.


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