What does apocryphal mean?

Definitions for apocryphal
əˈpɒk rə fəlapoc·ryphal

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word apocryphal.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. apocryphaladjective

    being of questionable authenticity

  2. Apocryphaladjective

    of or belonging to the Apocrypha


  1. apocryphaladjective

    Of, or pertaining to, the Apocrypha.

  2. apocryphaladjective

    Of doubtful authenticity, or lacking authority; not regarded as canonical.

    Many scholars consider the stories of the monk Teilo to be apocryphal.

  3. apocryphaladjective

    Of dubious veracity; of questionable accuracy or truthfulness; anecdotal or in the nature of an urban legend.

    There is an apocryphal tale of a little boy plugging the dike with his finger.

  4. Apocryphaladjective

    Of, or relating to the Apocrypha

  5. Etymology: From Late Latin apocryphus secret, not approved for public reading, from Greek apokryphos hidden, obscure, thus (books) of unknown authorship, from apo- away + kryptein to hide. Properly plural (the single would be apocryphon), but commonly treated as a collective singular. Apocryphal of doubtful authenticity is from 1590.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Apocryphaladjective

    Etymology: from apocrypha.

    Jerom, who saith, that all writings not canonical are apocryphal, uses not the title apocryphal, as the rest of the fathers ordinarily have done, whose custom is so to name, for the most part, only such as might not publickly be read or divulged. Richard Hooker, b. v. § 20.

    To speak of her in the words of the apocryphal writers, wisdom is glorious, and never fadeth away. Joseph Addison, Spectator.


  1. apocryphal

    Apocrypha are written works, often of unknown authorship or doubtful origin. In Christianity, the word apocryphal (ἀπόκρυφος) was first applied to writings which were to be read privately rather than in the public context of church services -- edifying Christian works which were not considered canonical Scripture. In the wake of the Protestant Reformation, the word apocrypha came to mean "false, spurious, bad, or heretical". From a Protestant point of view, Biblical apocrypha are a set of texts included in the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, but not in the Hebrew Bible. While Catholic tradition considers some of these texts to be deuterocanonical, and the Orthodox Churches consider them all to be canonical, Protestants consider them apocryphal, that is, non-canonical books that are useful for instruction. Luther's Bible placed them in a separate section in between the Old Testament and New Testament called the Apocrypha, a convention followed by subsequent Protestant Bibles. Other non-canonical apocryphal texts are generally called pseudepigrapha, a term that means "false attribution".


  1. apocryphal

    Apocryphal generally refers to something (like a story or statement) of questionable authenticity, although it is widely circulated as being true. It can also relate to works or sections of works not considered as genuine or canonical by a certain religion or other authorized body.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Apocryphaladjective

    pertaining to the Apocrypha

  2. Apocryphaladjective

    not canonical. Hence: Of doubtful authority; equivocal; mythic; fictitious; spurious; false

Editors Contribution

  1. Apocryphal

    Not yet certified by few authorities-guess the text apocrypha may serve a purpose-guess it is read by roman catholic and some other christian groups.

    guess apocrypha history is pre 20 or 15 AD-at that time there were a lot of gentiles-guess people could read apocrypha maybe as a history book-it may also have tales in the Augustian and pre Augustian times -the creatures yeti (Abominable snowman)-though not seen by many has been seen reportedly by a few-and guess in nepal a lot think its real-so also is the lochness monster.

    Submitted by Lighthouse21 on March 24, 2018  

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of apocryphal in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of apocryphal in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of apocryphal in a Sentence

  1. Gavin Naylor:

    Many people have never seen these animals, they have got this apocryphal mysterious kind reputation. They were believed – at least one species, the Ganges River shark – was believed to bite bathers in the Ganges River. But nobody ever saw them. It was a wonderful, frightening thing that some sort of monster grabs you but nobody knows what it is.

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"apocryphal." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 17 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/apocryphal>.

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