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Hapax legomenon

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A hapax legomenon (literally, "something said only once") is a word or phrase that occurs only once in any particular document, body of work, total work product of an author, or even in the entire written record of a language.[1]

The most famous example of a hapax legomenon in the Bible is the phrase gopher wood, used to identify the primary building material of Noah's ark.[2]


  1. Definition of "hapax legomenon". Merriam-Webster online dictionary, 2008. Accessed October 28, 2008.
  2. Genesis 6:14

See also