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Aphedron is a hapax legomenon found in an inscription at Pergamos. In this context, aphedron seems to mean "latrine" but was at one time thought to mean "bowel".



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What is the Meaning? LEGOMENON Literary Journal & Magazine LEGOMENON is an online literary journal and magazine that asks the existential question, "What is the meaning?" LEGOMENON features original interpretations and in-depth analytical essays about culture and the meaning of art, music, and film.

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What is a hapax legomenon? What is its significance?

What is the definition of the hapax legomenon? In Greek, hapax legomenon means "something said only once" and refers to any word that appears in a text or work of literature only one time. A hapax legomenon is usually a nonce word, or a word created by the author on an occasion when no other word can communicate the proper meaning given the context. Hapax legomena are not so significant or common in modern, easily translatable literature, but are very important in relation to the Bible and other old, historical texts needing to be translated into foreign languages.

Hapax legomena can pose quite a challenge to translators who usually refer to other instances of a word in a text in order to determine the meaning of any given word. If the word is a hapax legomenon and appears only once in the text, the original meaning of the word as intended by the author is almost impossible to decipher. Translators cherry pick a synonym to stand in the place of the nonce word, leaving the original meaning of the hapax legomenon lost in translation.