Apocryphal
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Apocryphal
See also: Apocryphal

English

Etymology

From Late Latin apocryphus ("secret, not approved for public reading"), from Ancient Greek (apókruphos, "hidden, obscure", thus "(books) of unknown authorship"), from (apó, "from") + (krúpt?, "I hide"). Properly plural (the singular would be apocryphon), but commonly treated as a collective singular. "Apocryphal" meaning "of doubtful authenticity" is first attested in English in 1590.

Pronunciation

Adjective

apocryphal (comparative more apocryphal, superlative most apocryphal)

  1. (Christianity) Of, or pertaining to, the Apocrypha.
    • 1920, Montague Rhodes James, "Introductory", in The Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament:
      The Latins are throughout poorer. Tertullian and Cyprian will be referred to; but Jerome hates apocryphal literature, and says so, while Augustine, a valuable source of knowledge about some New Testament Apocrypha, never, it so happens, quotes spurious Old Testament literature at all.
  2. (by extension) Of doubtful authenticity, or lacking authority; not regarded as canonical. [from 1590s]
    Synonyms: allonymous, spurious
    Antonym: canonical
    Many scholars consider the stories of the monk Teilo to be apocryphal.
  3. (by extension) Of dubious veracity; of questionable accuracy or truthfulness; anecdotal or in the nature of an urban legend.
    Synonym: anecdotal
    • 1749, [John Cleland], "(Please specify the letter or volume)", in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], London: [...] G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] [...], OCLC 731622352:
      Charles, already dispos'd by the evidence of his senses to think my pretences to virginity not entirely apocryphal, smothers me with kisses, begs me, in the name of love, to have a little patience, and that he will be as tender of hurting me as he would be of himself.
    There is an apocryphal tale of a little boy plugging the dike with his finger.

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