Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “cautionary tale”

cautionary tale

noun [C]    
a story that gives a warning: Her story is a cautionary tale for women travelling alone.Accounts and storiesSummaries and summarisingThreats and warnings
(Definition of cautionary tale noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of cautionary tale

Translations of “cautionary tale”

Word of the Day

neighbourly

friendly or helpful

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More