The context is: "Santato wasn't spinning fairy tales.".

It means "fantasy"?

Thank you in advance!

2 Answers 2


Here's my totally off-the-top-of-my-head, unresearched answer: "Spinning" a fairy tale basically means to tell a story you are making up as you go along. I believe this comes from the fact that the word "yarn" is sometimes used as a colloquialism for "fictional story". Yarn is made through a process called spinning, and so when you are telling a story you are "spinning a yarn". I think the verb "spinning" has oozed out of that construction and is sometimes now used on its own to refer to the telling of a story.

  • Oh, thank you! I thought "spinning" is a "adj". After reading your lines, I think it's in the form of "was not doing" .
    – Lincoln
    Apr 11, 2014 at 4:42
  • 2
    @Lincoln - Yes, in this case, "spinning" is a verb. See Macmillian Def. #6: to tell a story, especially one that is not true, in an interesting and exciting way. So, "Santato wasn't spinning fairy tales" means, "Santato was telling the truth!"
    – J.R.
    Apr 11, 2014 at 9:33
  • Thank you! @J.R. I forget the name of Macmillian Dictionary, and just check the Oxford dictionary...
    – Lincoln
    Apr 12, 2014 at 7:06
  • @Lincoln - Don't forget about OneLook; that will hook you up with Oxford and Macmillan – and a dozen or so more good dictionaries, too!
    – J.R.
    Apr 12, 2014 at 10:22

From The Free Dictionary, spin:

"to produce, fabricate, or evolve in a manner suggestive of spinning thread: to spin a tale."

I believe this is the meaning here. It could be restated as:

Santato wasn't just imagining [and telling] fairy tales [but was telling the truth].

  • Agreed. Today "spin" is often used in relation to political "story telling" to distort what is (or was) said, or at least to emphasize what's advantageous to your side -- to put "spin" on an event or story to accrue advantage over an opponent.
    – Phil Perry
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:48
  • I see that as a subtly different meaning. "spin" in the political sense is to twist the true story, while "spin" here is an outright fabrication.
    – Tim S.
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:51
  • Well, in politics you twist a true story by introducing false material, exaggerating aspects of [the true story], overemphasizing parts advantageous to you, and not mentioning/belittling/silencing discussion of parts disadvantageous to you. There are still falsehoods involved.
    – Phil Perry
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .