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 1880–85, hapax legomenon is from Greek hápax legómenon “(thing) once said”

Words nearby hapax legomenon

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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