Difference between Legend and Myth

Key Difference: Legend are narrative of actions performed by humans sometime in history; it an historical account of events and people from ancient times. Myths are stories or tales that have been rooted in religion or folk beliefs of that time.

All cultures have stories that have been passed down from generation to generation, some of which are known as legends, while the others are known as myths. These stories contain superhuman like characters that defy all logic and rules of nature. These stories may also have supernatural elements that make up the story. Since both of the stories can include death-defying stunts and heroes, it can create confusion trying to define the differences between legends and myths.

Legend, derived from Latin word ‘legenda’ meaning "things to be read", is a narrative of actions performed by humans sometime in history; it an historical account of events and people from ancient times. These accounts may have little amount of evidence supporting the person or place, but it cannot be effectively verified. These tales include people or events in the past that have been exaggerated to the point where it now includes supernatural or extraordinary elements.

Merriam Webster defines ‘legends’ as, “a story coming down from the past; especially: one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable; a popular myth of recent origin; a person or thing that inspires legends; the subject of a legend.” A person who is inspiring and has achieved something is also known as a legend according to modern definition. Legends are told in generations to mostly teach certain lessons of faith, trust, loyalty and other virtues. Examples of legends include Atlantis, King Arthur, Helen of Troy, the Trojan War, etc.

Myths, derived from the Greek word ‘mythos’ meaning “thought, story, or speech”, are stories or tales that have been rooted in religion or folk beliefs of that time. The stories were a way in order to represent or explain how the world came to be in its natural state and natural phenomena that occur in the world. They are usually supernatural in nature. Myth is defined as,” a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon; a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence.”

Myths usually involve gods, heroes and humans, in various settings accomplishing supernatural feats. These myths could be elaborated accounts of historical events, an account of natural phenomena; a way to justify a ritual or teach behavior or morals. Myths are basically attempts to explain creation, divinity, religion, to probe the meaning of existence and death, to account for natural phenomena and to chronicle the adventures of heroes. Examples of myths include Greek Mythology, Thor, Roman Mythology, etc.





Legends are stories about real people, considered as heroes, that have been passed down generation to generation

Mythology are stories that explains practices, beliefs, or natural phenomenon


The word ‘legend’ is derived from Old French word ‘legende’, which comes from Latin word ‘legenda’ meaning “story; things to be read.”

The word ‘myth’ is derived from Greek word ‘mythos’ meaning “thought, story, or speech.”


As the event actually happened sometime in the past, there may be evidence to support the stories

There are no supporting evidences available for these stories, though some stories such as Indian Mythology claim places in the stories exist.

Fact or Fiction

Fact, but it is exaggerated

Mostly fiction, made up stories about how the “world was formed”

People portrayed

Are actual heroes in their own times, whose actions or deeds are exaggerated

Most commonly includes gods, demi-gods, etc


Legends feature an actual cultural hero but include imaginative elements.

Traditional narrative that explains natural phenomena through symbolism; often involves the gods of ancient cultures.


Imaginative element is used to exaggerate a story

Symbolism is used to define a natural situation or event

Famous Works

Atlantis, El Dorado, Fountain of Youth, Helen of Troy, Trojan War, Shangri-La, etc

Greek Mythology (Hercules, Zeus, etc), Thor, etc

Image Courtesy: b.vimeocdn.com, intuit.co.uk

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Thank you for those informations I loved it !!

Thanks a lot but I still need prominent examples

Really well explanations and helped me to know the difference!

good staff just loved it

just used this for an assignment. hope i won't be charged with plagiarism. Excellent write-up. 5stars

I can now compleated my homework

but you don't know how to spell

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