I have seen this word many times but can't for the life of me able to remember. The word refers to a quote which is often attributed to someone but no one can verify whether the person actually said so.

Let me give an example. Einstein (that word) "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tre......"

It is very likely that I am getting it mixed up. I am not quite sure I am looking for the word aphorism

Please kindly help !!

1 Answer 1


The word you are looking for is apocryphal.

adjective (of a story or statement) of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true: an apocryphal story about a former president

  • I agree that's probably the word he's after, but it doesn't fit in the slot he's provided. What fits in the slot is: "is purported to have said"
    – Jim
    Sep 30, 2013 at 3:41
  • Thanks very much. I agree it does not fit in the slot. Sep 30, 2013 at 6:12
  • @Jim No, it doesn't fit in the slot. But neither does aphorism. I was merely replacing the suggested word with the word I know he or she is actually seeking, given the state of his or her language skill. To fit something into the slot, however, we might suggest merely "said," and then the quote would be followed by the word "apocryphal" (sans quotation marks) placed in parentheses, thus: Einstein said, "Everybody..." (apocryphal). I believe this would be the generally accepted usage, although I have seen "Einstein apocryphally said." (I cringe at this, and do not recommend it.) Oct 1, 2013 at 22:32
  • @Jim I suppose, to be fair, I might also suggest allegedly, as in "Einstein allegedly said," and purportedly, and "It is attributed to Einstein," and "one of Einstein's dicta (or dictums) is" -- but none of these exactly fits the slot, n'est pas? I still think apocryphal is the target word. Oct 2, 2013 at 20:00

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