Hapax happens only once

Hapax? It’s a word of linguistics. But it’s a funny one, thus here I am playing with it for you. Hapax is a word that occurs only once within a context, in the works of an author, or in a single text.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hapax_legomenon

For example, in Moby Dick, there’s a single use of the word “matrimonial”.

SO WHAT?

I don’t know, it’s funny that some scholar study this, finding laws, etc…

  1. It can be a tool (the number of the hapaxes you find in a text shows something about the author).
  2. It can be used to find vocabulary (for example, flother as a synonym of snowflake) – new never seen words are ALWAYS fascinating, like jewelry.
  3. It’s a mess in ancient texts for translators : Gvina is a Bible hapax, for example. What is it, then?
  4. They can be mistakes
  5. An hapax is always related of a context : a single text, a book, a life work, a whole language.
  6. Some hapaxes are inventions from authors, and they can “enter” the language afterwards (Rabelais wrote about “la dive bouteille” about good wine : the dive (pronounce “div”) bottle is the divine bottle, of courrrse he’s French.
  7. You can play with Google for whole history of humanity hapaxes. For example I invented “flabbergastortion”, which doesn’t exist. Hop, an hapax!!
  8. Of course, some thinkers used this concept in life or philosophy. A life hapax is a unique event or a chance, or a drama you did not see coming and won’t happen twice.
  9. This of course opens and shuts doors for life.
  10. This could lead to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphany_(feeling) – therefore where’s the difference?

 

What other hapaxes do you know? Something that happens only one time? Something you suddenly understand? Someone you meet? Where’s the intensity? Why? What does it SAY?

Thanks for reading!

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