"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[uh-pok-ruh-fuh l] /əˈpɒk rə fəl/
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
1580-90; apocryph(a) + -al1
Related forms
apocryphally, adverb
apocryphalness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for apocryphal
  • News also spread over the Net - with the usual apocryphal embellishments.
  • Many modern historians believe the tale is apocryphal.
  • The story is no doubt apocryphal but I want to believe it.
  • There are tales, perhaps apocryphal, of villages where all the men of working age have left.
  • We all have apocryphal and outlier stories to tell, some of the most unbelievable are not even exaggerations.
  • He tells two stories that sound apocryphal, but which he insists are true.
  • The story is probably apocryphal, but the child's response was prophetic.
  • More than three years later, this apocryphal account continues to surface.
  • The story may be apocryphal, but it tends to be believed.
  • These are not the only matters that are reported as fact but sound apocryphal, since so much of the source material is secondhand.
British Dictionary definitions for apocryphal


of questionable authenticity
(sometimes capital) of or like the Apocrypha
untrue; counterfeit
Derived Forms
apocryphally, 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
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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
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