Myth


Myth

Myth is derived from the Greek word "μύθος" "mythos", which simply means 'story'."

Academic usage

In the academic fields of mythology, mythography, or folkloristics, a myth is a sacred story involving symbols that are usually capable of multiple meanings (cf. the works of Claude Levi-Strauss, Ernst Cassirer, Mircea Eliade, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, and Northrup Frye for various interpretations). The body of myths in a given culture usually includes a cosmogonical or creation myth concerning the origins of the world or how the world and its creatures came into existence. The active beings in myths are generally gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines, or animals. Most myths are set in a timeless past before recorded and critical history begins.

A myth is a sacred narrative in the sense that it holds religious or spiritual significance for those who tell it, and it contributes to and expresses systems of thought and values. Use of the term by scholars implies neither the truth nor the falseness of the narrative. To the source culture, however, a myth by definition is "true," in that it embodies beliefs, concepts, and ways of questioning and making sense of the world.

Popular usage

In popular use, a myth can also be a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact according to the speaker. This usage, which is often pejorative, [cite book|last=Howells|first=Richard|title=The Myth of the Titanic|publisher=Macmillan|year=1999|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=34BdSTbnSKUC&pg=PA37&lpg=PA37&dq=myth+pejorative&source=web&ots=X4AT1P_6XR&sig=3UkHYLBt7fQrRDjP4ZOOtQzbBfA&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result] arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as being incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. [Eliade, "Myths, Dreams and Mysteries", 1967, pp. 23, 162.] Because of this popular and subjective word usage, many people take offense when the religious narratives they believe to be true are called myths (see religion and mythology for more information). This usage is frequently associated with legend, fiction, fairy tale, folklore, fable, confusing data, personal desire and urban legend, each of which has a distinct meaning in academia.

"Urban myth" is an alternative term for urban legend.

ee also

*Falsehood
*Folklore
*Myth and ritual
*Mythology (main article)
*Religion and mythology
*Rumor
*Saga
*Urban legend

References


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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • myth — [mıθ] n [U and C] [Date: 1800 1900; : Greek; Origin: mythos story, speech, myth ] 1.) an idea or story that many people believe, but which is not true = ↑fallacy myth of ▪ the myth of male superiority myth that ▪ the myth that wisdom accompanies… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Myth — es una saga de videojuegos de estrategia, ambientada en la antigüedad, donde se hace presente una gran mitología, batallas contra seres sobrenaturales y mucha violencia. Títulos de la saga La saga consta de los siguientes títulos: Myth: The… …   Wikipedia Español

  • myth — [ mıθ ] noun ** 1. ) count an ancient traditional story about gods, HEROES, and magic: Greek myths and legends a ) uncount ancient traditional stories: the distinction between myth and history 2. ) count or uncount something that people wrongly… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Myth — (engl. für „Mythos“) steht für: Myth, eine Computerspielserie bestehend aus Myth: The Fallen Lords, Myth II: Soulblighter und Myth III: The Wolf s Age MythTV, eine freie Media Center Software MythBusters, eine Fernsehsendung des US amerikanischen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • MYTH — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Myth. Introduction Le groupe Myth est spécialisé dans le déplombage de jeux vidéos, au même titre que le groupe DEViANCE par exemple. On distingue plusieurs moyens opératoires : le GameRip (GTA III par… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Myth — (m[i^]th), n. [Written also {mythe}.] [Gr. my^qos myth, fable, tale, talk, speech: cf. F. mythe.] 1. A story of great but unknown age which originally embodied a belief regarding some fact or phenomenon of experience, and in which often the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • myth — (n.) 1830, from Fr. Mythe (1818) and directly from Mod.L. mythus, from Gk. mythos speech, thought, story, myth, anything delivered by word of mouth, of unknown origin. Myths are stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent… …   Etymology dictionary

  • myth — 1 Myth, legend, saga all mean a story which has come down from the past, which ostensibly relates a historical event or events, and of which the origin has been lost or forgotten. Myth varies considerably in its denotation and connotation… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • myth|i|fy — «MIHTH uh fy», transitive verb, fied, fy|ing. to make mythical; build a myth around (a person, place, thing, or event) …   Useful english dictionary

  • myth|o|pe|ic — myth|o|poe|ic or myth|o|pe|ic «MIHTH uh PEE ihk», adjective. making myths; having to do with making myths …   Useful english dictionary


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