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n. pl. fab·li·aux (-lē-ō′, -ōz′)
A medieval verse tale characterized by comic, ribald treatment of themes drawn from life.

[French, from Old North French, from Old French fablel, diminutive of fable, fable; see fable.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈfæblɪˌəʊ; French fɑblijo)
n, pl fabliaux (ˈfæblɪˌəʊz; French fɑblijo)
(Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a comic, usually ribald, verse tale, of a kind popular in France in the 12th and 13th centuries
[C19: from French: a little tale, from fable tale]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈfæb liˌoʊ)

n., pl. -li•aux (-liˌoʊz, -liˌoʊ)
a short metrical tale, usu. ribald and humorous, popular in medieval France.
[1795–1805; < French; Old North French form of Old French fablel, fableau <fable fable]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The second chapter turns to the fabliaux, and especially Oswald, the Reeve, as a vital hinge in the structure of the Tales.
Howard Bloch touches on the sticky question of origins in his work on fabliaux. As Bloch points out, early critics of the fabliaux saw the scandalous nature of the tales as proof of their decadent origin through Eastern tales.
The Disputacion itself is the first of many exempla, fabliaux, and other stories romanced by the Archpriest, who drew upon Aesop, Ovid, Augustine, Latin comedies, goliardic poetry, liturgy, and just about anything else to hand that he could include in his sprawling compendium of narrative and lyric poetry.
In other words, space and spatial practices in the Middle Ages and their representations in Chaucer's fabliaux can be regarded as discursive constructions which are built by the power.
The 14th-century manuscript is a trove of love song lyrics, religious verse, political songs, four fabliaux, lives of three Anglo-Saxon saints, satires, comedies, debates, collected sayings, conduct literature, Bible stories, dream interpretations, and pilgrim guides.
This Mariological narrative lends itself to the genres of courtly romance and fabliaux: in the Life of the Virgin as in ribald and chivalric tales of love, amor vincit omnia.
And the Harley manuscript (from the 1340s) that includes 'Alysoun' and other love lyrics also contains religious pieces in Latin prose and verse, and saints' lives, fabliaux, and poems in Anglo-Norman French (London, British Library, MS Harley 2253).
Art imparts meaning to the mundane by transforming simple street-scenes into eternal works of art: seemingly anodyne occurrences--spilt milk, frolicking children, gossipers, haggling vendors--were transfigured into brilliant visual fabliaux by Bruegel hundreds of years ago, and can still be seen by viewers today.
(4) Jack sees the detailed specificity of the Berwick setting as part of a much broader Chaucerian influence on the poem: in this instance, a deliberate gesture to the strong sense of place found in Chaucer's fabliaux. In Jack's view, the unknown Scottish author uses his description of Berwick as a way of nodding to the 'Oxenford' of The Miller's Tale, the 'Trumpyngtoun' of The Reeve's Tale, and the 'Holdernesse' of The Sum mover's Tale, and in so doing to alert his audience--or at least that element of his audience familiar with Chaucer's work--to the kind of comic, fabliau tale it might expect.
In Anglo-Norman, there are interludes, fabliaux, courtesy books, debates on women, and a series of Bible stories contrived by the scribe himself.