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  • Adj.

apocryphal

uh-POK-ruh-fuhl

Context
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When the Stuart family moved into their rich uncle’s crumbling mansion, local apocryphal rumors questionably claimed that it was haunted. While exploring the attic, Sam Stuart, the youngest son, remembered the fictitious and apocryphal stories told about the ghost when he thought he saw a shadow in a dark corner. Hair raised on end, Sam shared his story at dinner, yet another incident added to the collection of doubtful, apocryphal tales about the house spirit.

Quiz: What is an apocryphal story?

  • A story that calls for further investigation.
  • A story that is wildly untrue.
  • A well-known story that is probably full of error.

Memory Hook
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A Pocket Full? Pinocchio once said he'd collected a whole pocket full of gold coins ... was Pinocchio's story true, or apocryphal, a pocket full of lies?

Examples
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  • There’s the story, perhaps apocryphal, about him being approached by an ordinary citizen, who said, 'Mr. Coolidge, my friend bet you wouldn’t say three words to me.' —Sports Illustrated
  • The story is apocryphal but widely believed because it epitomizes Steve Jobs and his unflagging obsession with originality, engineering authenticity, and design detail. —USA Today
  • Assorted texts deemed apocryphal by the church served up variations on and additions to the stories told by the four evangelists, and inspired a distinctive vein of artwork spanning centuries. —BNET
  • The grave of Abelard and Heloise: if someone proves to you that it is apocryphal, exclaim: 'You are robbing me of my illusions!' —The Washington Post

Word Ingredients
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apo- away, from
crypt hidden
-al of or relating to

The truth of an apocryphal tale or belief is “hidden away.”

Word Constellation
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Apocryphal