A Word A Day : Apocryphal

Wednesday, 6th February 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Adjective )

Pronunciation : a-pó-kri-f'l

1. probably not true, but widely believed to be true

2. Ecclesiastical: Of or having to do with the Apocrypha

3. Of questionable authorship or authenticity

4. Erroneous, fictitious

5. Related to the Old Testament


The term Apocrypha was coined by the fifth-century biblical scholar St. Jerome.

Apocryphal is a derivative of the word Apocrypha which means...

• Unauthentic writings: writings or reports that are not regarded as authentic

• Biblical writings of disputed authenticity: books of the Bible that are included in the Vulgate and Septuagint versions of the Christian Bible, but not in the Protestant Bible or the Hebrew canon

• Early Christian writings: a group of Christian writings dating from the early centuries ad that are not...

Middle English apocripha - not authentic, from Late Latin Apocrypha - the Apocrypha, from Greek Apokrupha, neuter pl. of apokruphos, secret, hidden, from apokruptein, to hide away : apo-, apo- + kruptein, kruph-, to hide


Erroneous, Questionable, fake, counterfeit, doubtful, dubious, equivocal, false, fictitious, inaccurate, mythical, spurious, unauthenticated, ungenuine, unsubstantiated, untrue, unverified, wrongm fictional, legendary, invented, made-up, Uncanonical


Authentic, doubtless, real, true, substantiated

Questionable means open to doubt, disagreement, or challenge - or of dubious morality, honesty, or respectability.

Questioning (adjective) means showing curiosity or inquiring about - or (noun) an inquiry or interrogation.

Contextual Examples:

• His books on England are treated with an apocryphal look by the scholars.

• The story of Noah and the flood is apocryphal.

• Wildly apocryphal rumors about starvation in Petrograd raced through Russia's trenches.

• He told an apocryphal story about the sword, but the truth was later revealed.

Related Words:

apocryphally : Adverb

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