urban legend

Definition: An apocryphal, secondhand story told as true and just plausible enough to be believed, about some horrific, embarrassing, ironic, or exasperating series of events that supposedly happened to a real person.

Expanded Definition: What Is an Urban Legend?

Also Known As: UL, urban myth, urban belief tale, contemporary legend, migratory legend

Common Misspellings: urban ledgend, urban legand, urban ledgen

Examples:

  • "The Choking Doberman," a creepy campfire story about a burglar whose hidden presence in a family home is revealed when the homeowner's dog coughs up a chewed-off finger, is always related as a true event but in fact is regarded by folklorists as a classic urban legend.
  • "The lack of verification in no way diminishes the appeal urban legends have for us. We enjoy them merely as stories, and we tend at least to half-believe them as possibly accurate reports." -- Jan Harold Brunvand

Common Urban Legends: