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hapax legomenon

[ hap-aks li-gom-uh-non, hey-paks ]
/ ˈhæp æks lɪˈgɒm əˌnɒn, ˈheɪ pæks /
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noun, plural hap·ax le·go·me·na [hap-aks li-gom-uh-nuh, hey-paks]. /ˈhæp æks lɪˈgɒm ə nə, ˈheɪ pæks/.
a word or phrase that appears only once in a manuscript, document, or particular area of literature.
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Origin of hapax legomenon

First recorded in 1690–1700; from Greek hápax “once, one time” + legómenon “(being) said,” neuter singular present passive participle of légein “to say”

Words nearby hapax legomenon

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use hapax legomenon in a sentence

  • It is the commonest word in the lexicon, yet it always reads as a hapax legomenon.

    In a Little Town|Rupert Hughes

British Dictionary definitions for hapax legomenon

hapax legomenon
/ (ˈhæpæks ləˈɡɒmɪˌnɒn) /

noun plural hapax legomena (ləˈɡɒmɪnə)
another term for nonce word

Word Origin for hapax legomenon

Greek: thing said only once
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
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