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Is "apocrypha" plural? These are extra-canonical books of the Bible. Is a singular one called an apocryphum or apocryphon or something like that?

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closed as general reference by tchrist, Matt E. Эллен, Mahnax, waiwai933 Aug 23 '12 at 7:38

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

It appears that English speakers are hopelessly confused as to what the singular of apocrypha should be. (And no, it's not apocryphon; that's an apocryphal plural.) – Peter Shor Jul 16 '12 at 21:10
@PeterShor: Oh, I dunno, the green line seems fairly hopeful to me. – chaos Jul 16 '12 at 21:14
And we haven't even mentioned the difference between the Apocryphya and the Pseudepigrapha. – John Lawler Jul 16 '12 at 21:21
I think it's actually called an apocryphal book. – TimLymington Jul 16 '12 at 22:33
@chaos: maybe you're right, and apocryphon is becoming the singular. But apocryphon and apocryphum are (respectively) Greek and Latin backformations from the noun apocrypha, which was originally a Latin adjective, but which turned into an English plural noun. – Peter Shor Jul 16 '12 at 23:49

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes, it's a plural. The singular is apocryphon (it's Greek).

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Merriam-Webster labels apocrypha as:

noun pl(ural) but singular or pl(ural) in constr(uction)

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What does that mean? – Adam Mosheh Jul 16 '12 at 21:08
Good copy and paste answer, but what does "but singular or pl(ural) in constr(uction)" mean? Could you clarify? – user19148 Jul 16 '12 at 21:11
Oh sorry, when I refreshed the page saw the PS's answer. – user19148 Jul 16 '12 at 21:12
I think it means that if you have to make it singular, you should use apocrypha. – Peter Shor Jul 16 '12 at 21:20
@Carlo_R. thanks; that means a lot coming from you. – cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jul 16 '12 at 21:57

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