Definition of hapax legomenon in English:

hapax legomenon

Pronunciation /ˌhapaks ləˈɡäməˌnän/ /ˌhæpæks ləˈɡɑməˌnɑn/

nounhapax legomena

  • A term of which only one instance of use is recorded.

    ‘In philology a hapax legomenon is almost always a word and is a problem because a single usage doesn't generally give us enough information to figure out what it means.’
    • ‘Moreover, many of the new words will occur only once; these are the so-called hapax legomena.’
    • ‘Grattius' diction - which includes numerous technical terms and hapax legomena - and versification are Augustan, but he does not always express himself lucidly.’
    • ‘Pope notes that Job has more hapax legomena (words which occur only once in the whole Bible) than any other Biblical book.’
    • ‘Just where did this hapax legomenon of a word come from?’


Mid 17th century Greek, ‘a thing said once’, from hapax ‘once’ and the passive participle of legein ‘to say’.


hapax legomenon

/ˌhapaks ləˈɡäməˌnän/ /ˌhæpæks ləˈɡɑməˌnɑn/