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A tale never loses in the telling proverbial saying, mid 16th century, implying that a story is often exaggerated when it is repeated.

a tale of a tub an apocryphal story; mid 16th century. The phrase was used as the title of a comedy (1633) by Ben Jonson, and then in 1696 (published 1704) as the title of a prose satire by Swift; the allusion was to Hobbes's Leviathan and its criticism of contemporary religion and government.

See also old wives' tale, tales.

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