1830年, 来自法语 mythe (1818年), 直接来自现代拉丁语 mythus, 来自希腊语 mythos “言语, 思想, 文字, 话语, 交谈; 故事, 传奇, 传说, 神话, 任何用口传的东西”, 这个词的来源不明. Beekes认为它“很可能是前希腊语”.
Myths are “stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial. .. the result is religious legend, not myth.” [J. Simpson & S. Roud, “Dictionary of English Folklore,” Oxford, 2000, p. 254]
一般意义上的“不真实的故事, 谣言, 虚构或虚构的对象或个人” 是1840年的.