[uh-pok-ruh-fuh l]


of doubtful authorship or authenticity.
  1. (initial capital letter)of or relating to the Apocrypha.
  2. of doubtful sanction; uncanonical.
false; spurious: He told an apocryphal story about the sword, but the truth was later revealed.

Origin of apocryphal

First recorded in 1580–90; apocryph(a) + -al1
Related formsa·poc·ry·phal·ly, adverba·poc·ry·phal·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for apocryphal



of questionable authenticity
(sometimes capital) of or like the Apocrypha
untrue; counterfeit
Derived Formsapocryphally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for apocryphal

1580s, "of doubtful authenticity," from Apocrypha + -al (1). Middle English had apocrive (late 14c.) in same sense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper