Definition of parable in English:


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  • A simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.

    ‘the parable of the blind men and the elephant’
    • ‘a modern-day parable’
    • ‘Jesus Christ sometimes used the camel in parables.’
    • ‘Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing.’
    • ‘In each gospel some of the parables are linked explicitly to Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom of God.’
    • ‘Jesus' use of parables also shows us that stories are not just for children or the unsophisticated.’
    • ‘Similarly, the parables in Scripture are stories meant to help us think and act with Jesus.’
    • ‘The lord in the gospel parable of the wedding feast told his servants to fill his table by compelling people to come in.’
    • ‘The parables of Jesus metaphorically break open myths and allow us to reimagine a new world.’
    • ‘He would often tell a little parable to illustrate in simple language the thoughts that came into his head.’
    • ‘Bringing a literal mind to the interpretations of Jesus' parables is usually not encouraged.’
    • ‘As with many of his parables, Jesus uses extreme examples to make his point.’
    • ‘Here, as in other parables, Jesus uses a symbol to turn our understanding upside down.’
    • ‘The parable he quotes, as with many of the parables from the Gospels, is symbolic in nature.’
    • ‘Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.’
    • ‘The parable Jesus told about the prodigal son shows us what love means.’
    • ‘He identifies the parable of the Prodigal Son as a story which has profoundly shaped Christianity.’
    • ‘In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus indicates that some will be condemned.’
    • ‘In the parable of the unmerciful servant the story is told of a man who owed his master millions.’
    • ‘A request thrown at Jesus from the crowd sets the context of the parable of the rich fool.’
    • ‘At the table he tells a parable in which he offers a lesson for the guests and a lesson for the hosts.’
    • ‘The Good Samaritan was a great parable and really gave me a newer aspect.’
    allegory, moral story, moral tale, fable, lesson, exemplum
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/ˈperəb(ə)l/ /ˈpɛrəb(ə)l/


Middle English from Old French parabole, from an ecclesiastical Latin sense ‘discourse, allegory’ of Latin parabola ‘comparison’, from Greek parabolē (see parabola).