Definition of fabliau in English:


nounplural noun fabliaux/-ˌōz/

  • A metrical tale, typically a bawdily humorous one, of a type found chiefly in early French poetry.

    ‘one may dispute that the French fabliaux are pornographic’
    • ‘a distinctive feature of fabliau language’
    • ‘‘The Reeve's Tale’ is a fabliau about two clerks who are robbed by a miller of some of the meal which they take to his mill to be ground, and who take their vengeance by sleeping with the miller's wife and daughter.’
    • ‘Peasants form a large part in the parody and satire of medieval Europe from the fabliaux to plays.’
    • ‘They tell tales ranging from courtly romances full of gallant knights and maidens-in-distress to rude fabliaux telling of the perils of drink, fighting and lust!’
    • ‘Fabliaux were comical and often grotesque stories in which the characters most often succeed by means of their sharp wits.’
    • ‘Fabliaux were characterized by vivid detail and realistic observation and were usually comic, coarse, and often cynical, especially in their treatment of women.’



/ˈfablēō/ /ˈfæblioʊ/


From Old French (Picard dialect) fabliaux, plural of fablel ‘short fable’, diminutive of fable.