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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?

closed as general reference by tchrist, Matt E. Эллен, user11550, 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.

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    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
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    @PeterShor: Oh, I dunno, the green line seems fairly hopeful to me. – chaos Jul 16 '12 at 21:14
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    And we haven't even mentioned the difference between the Apocryphya and the Pseudepigrapha. – John Lawler Jul 16 '12 at 21:21
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    I think it's actually called an apocryphal book. – TimLymington Jul 16 '12 at 22:33
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    @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
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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
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    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
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    @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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    Actually, my personal feeling is that apocrypha can be treated either as a plural noun or as a mass noun, but not as a count noun. So you can say apocrypha is but not an apocrypha. This seems to be borne out by Google Ngrams. – Peter Shor Jul 16 '12 at 23:43

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