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dubious, improbable (of questionable origin)


apocryphal = zweifelhaft; von zweifelhafter Authentizität (bei einer Geschichte oder Aussage), obwohl sie weit verbreitet als wahr gilt



“We all know about the somewhat APOCHRYPHAL plethora* of Eskimo words for snow (many of which describe the varying stages of the melting process)“

Adam Jacot de Boinod - The Guardian (29th April 2014)

*plethora = Fülle, Überfluss

Did you


- (of a story or statement) of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true

Oxford Languages


Both apocrypha and apocryphal derive, via Latin, from the Greek verbal adjective apokrýptein, meaning “to hide (from), keep hidden (from),” from krýptein (“to conceal, hide”).


1. Archimedes’ “Eureka!” moment: It is said that Archimedes discovered the principle of buoyancy while taking a bath and was so excited that he ran naked through the streets of Syracuse shouting “Eureka!” (I found it!). This story is likely exaggerated.

2. Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned: It is often said that the Roman Emperor Nero played the fiddle during the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD, showing his indifference to the suffering of his people. This story is likely a fabrication, as fiddles did not exist at the time.

3. Benjamin Franklin and the kite experiment: The famous story of Franklin flying a kite during a thunderstorm to prove that lightning is electricity is likely a myth. While Franklin did conduct electricity experiments, the exact details of the kite experiment are unclear.

4. The Great Wall of China being visible from space: This widely circulated myth claims that the Great Wall is the only human-made structure visible from space. In reality, it is not visible from low Earth orbit, let alone from the Moon.

5. Lady Godiva’s naked horse ride: The story goes that Lady Godiva rode naked on horseback through the streets of Coventry to protest high taxes imposed by her husband. However, there is no solid evidence to support this tale, and it is likely a myth.

6. The curse of Tutankhamun’s tomb: After the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, it was rumored that a curse would befall anyone who entered the tomb. While some of the archaeologists involved experienced misfortune, there is no evidence of a curse.

7. The Bermuda Triangle: The area known as the Bermuda Triangle has long been associated with mysterious ship and aircraft disappearances. While these incidents have been embellished and sensationalized, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea of an unusual or supernatural phenomenon occurring in the area.

I'm a little sad, because I really like these stories and a part of me would like them to be true. Drop me a line how you feel. (Paul)


- of doubtful authenticity or lacking authority:

APOCHRYPHAL, counterfeit, debatable, doubtful, dubious, equivocal, fabricated, fake, false, fictional, fictitious, fictitious folklore, imaginary, inaccurate, invented, legendary, made-up, mythical, questionable, spurious, unauthenticated, uncanonical, unconfirmed, untrue, unverified, ungenuine, unsubstantiated, unicorn tales

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“Most historians consider the story of an apple falling on Isaac Newton’s head to be APOCHRYPHAL.”

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