Definitions of Myth

1) a narrative concerning sacred reality and its relationship to humanity . . . designed to
disclose the ultimate truth about human questions. --Lawrence Cunningham, John Kelsay, R.
M. Barineau, Heather McVoy, ed., The Sacred Quest

2) The word itself comes from the Greek "mythos" which originally meant "speech" or
"discourse" but which later came to mean "fable" or "legend". In this document the word "myth"
will be defined as a story of forgotten or vague origin, basically religious or supernatural in
nature, which seeks to explain or rationalize one or more aspects of the world or a society. . .
Our definition is thus clearly distinguished from the use of the word myth in everyday speech
which basically refers to any unreal or imaginary story. A myth is also distinctly different from
an allegory or parable which is a story deliberately made up to illustrate some moral point but
which has never been assumed to be true by anyone. -- Encyclopedia Mythica

3) a complex of stories . . . which, for various reasons, human beings regard as demonstrations
of the inner meaning of the universe and of human life. -- Alan Watts, Myth and Ritual in

4) a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the
world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon -- Merriam
Webster Dictionary