Is there any word that can be used to describe an incident or event that may have taken place but people are not sure if that event actually took place because there is a lack of comprehensive evidence.

For example many people believe that the Roswell Incident is actually true, however others believe that such an incident did not take place.

Another example is an event from an Eastern religion called Mahabharat that is considered to be true by many people, however others differ suggesting that there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that this event actually took place.

  • I guess this could be a Schrödinger's event?
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 14:10

3 Answers 3


purported - said to be true or real but not definitely true or real

If things are more certain, you can bump the status of a purported event up to putative:

putative - generally believed to be something


Consider alleged

Represented as existing or as being as described but not so proved; supposed: an alleged conspiracy; an alleged traitor; an alleged victim of a crime.

American Heritage Dictionary

Similarly claimed

to say that something is ​true or is a ​fact, ​although you cannot ​prove it and other ​people might not ​believe it

Cambridge Dictionaries Online


  • supposed
  • declared
  • assumed
  • so-called
  • apparent
  • rumoured
  • stated
  • described
  • asserted
  • presumed
  • affirmed
  • professed
  • reputed
  • hypothetical
  • averred
  • 1
    +1 for the "supposed" suggestion. I've heard that used many times.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 0:33

Apocryphal would be a good way to describe the alien landing at Roswell.

  • no no no!!! Brummie, "apocryphal" simply means you do not know the author. It is quite incorrect, when folks use it to mean "may be legendary".
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 13:20
  • the word simply comes from "apocrypha" in jewish religious writing - it simply means nothing more than "margin note, by unknown writer". the word just means "origin unknown" or "author unknown".
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 13:21
  • Joe, the origin is certainly from the Apocrypha but the word carries a meaning beyond text attribution. Here is a quote from Fanny Hill: "Charles, already dispos'd by the evidence of his senses to think my pretences to virginity not entirely apocryphal, smothers me with kisses, begs me, in the name of love, to have a little patience, and that he will be as tender of hurting me as he would be of himself." Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 13:51
  • Hi Brumm - that author used it incorrectly, as do many people. It's a bit like "decimate", you know what I mean?
    – Fattie
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 13:58
  • 1
    The misuse of decimate does irritate me to a spectacular degree, I admit. It's hard to decide at what point we accept a drift (or in this case, expansion) of the use of a word as a new meaning. Wiktionary, for example, gives this as a third definition: "Of dubious veracity; of questionable accuracy or truthfulness; anecdotal or in the nature of an urban legend." whereas some sources do not cite it at all. Thankfully, it's afternoon here, so the adventures of Miss Hill seem a little more appropriate. Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 14:17

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