for example, the apple falling on Newton’s head
I think you mean ‘apocryphal.’ It means the story has no basis in reliable record, but is told by those who often did not know the person(s) or events involved. They might or might not be true; but the general consensus is that they are usually made up, or at least highly embellished by later tellers.
The story of Newton and the apple is not entirely apocryphal, but the detail about it hitting him on the head is. Newton himself described the event as seeing an apple fall, not being hit on the head by one. At that moment he realized that the apple and the Moon (which was also visible) were moved by the same force of gravity.
Apocryphal stories are of doubtful authorship or authenticity. Apocrypha (from the Greek word meaning “those having been hidden away”) are texts of uncertain authenticity or writings where the authorship is questioned. This usage usually involves fictitious or legendary accounts that are plausible enough to commonly be considered as truth. For example, the Parson Weems account of George Washington and the cherry tree is considered apocryphal.
I was watching Downton Abbey and thought I heard hypocriful used in a sentence and googled to find the exact meaning. From the answers above, I must have heard hypocriful instead of apocryphal. My thought on why this happened would be that hypocrite (and any derivation) is a somewhat common word that most people have heard whereas, apocryphal is not as common and could be easily misheard for a more common word.
You mean Apocryphal? It means a story of dubious, or unsure, authenticity. One story that is considered apocryphal is Washington and the cherry tree. In reality, it never happened.
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