January 12, 2012
“You are the hapax legomenon of my life,” says Paul West to his wife Diane Ackerman. (They are both fine writers who have a way with words.)
The wikipedia entry says a hapax legomenon is “a word which occurs only once within a context, either in the written record of an entire language, in the works of an author, or in a single text.”
But West meant it as a very special term of endearment for Ackerman, as Language Log’s Julie Sedivy explains.