From Late Latin apocryphus (“secret, not approved for public reading”), from Ancient Greek ἀπόκρυφος (apókruphos, “hidden, obscure”, thus “(books) of unknown authorship”), from ἀπό (apó, “from”) + κρύπτω (krúptō, “I hide”). Properly plural (the singular would be apocryphon), but commonly treated as a collective singular. “Apocryphal” meaning “of doubtful authenticity” is first attested in English in 1590.
apocryphal (comparative more apocryphal, superlative most apocryphal)
- (Christianity) Of, or pertaining to, the Apocrypha.
- (by extension) Of doubtful authenticity, or lacking authority; not regarded as canonical. [from 1590s]
- (by extension) Of dubious veracity; of questionable accuracy or truthfulness; anecdotal or in the nature of an urban legend.