• Legend


    • IPA: /ˈlɛdʒ.ənd/


    From Middle English legende, from Old French legende, from Medieval Latin legenda ("a legend, story, especially the lives of the saints"), from Latin legenda (""), from lego ("I read").

    Full definition of legend



    (plural legends)
    1. A story of unknown origin describing plausible but extraordinary past events.The legend of Troy was discovered to have historical basis.
    2. A story in which a kernel of truth is embellished to an unlikely degree.The 1984 Rose Bowl prank has spawned many legends. Here's the real story.
    3. A leading protagonist in a historical legend.Achilles is a legend in Greek culture.
    4. A person of extraordinary accomplishment.Michael Jordan stands as a legend in basketball.
    5. A key to the symbols and color codes on a map, chart, etc.According to the legend on the map, that building is a school.
    6. An inscription, motto, or title, especially one surrounding the field in a medal or coin, or placed upon a heraldic shield or beneath an engraving or illustration.
    7. A fabricated backstory for a spy, with associated documents and records; a cover story.According to his legend, he once worked for the Red Cross, spreading humanitarian aid in Africa.
      • 1992, Ronald Kessler, Inside the CIA, 1994 edition, ISBN 067173458X, page 115:If the documents are needed to establish "a light legend," meaning a superficial cover story, no steps are taken to make sure that if someone calls the college or motor vehicle department, the name on the document will be registered.
      • 2003, Rodney Carlisle, Complete Idiot's Guides Spies and Espionage, , ISBN 0028644182, page 105:Sorge solidified his own position by returning to Germany and developing a new legend. He joined the Nazi Party....
      • 2005, Curtis Peebles, Twilight Warriors, , ISBN 1591146607, page 25:Both the agent's legend and documents were intended to stand up against casual questions from Soviet citizens, such as during a job interview, or a routine police document check, such as were made at railway stations.
    8. (UK, Irish, Australia, New Zealand, colloquial, slang) A cool, nice or helpful person, especially one who is male.I've lost my pen! —Here mate, borrow mine. —You legend.


    • (story of unknown origin) myth
    • (story embellished to become implausible) myth, tall tale
    • (leading protagonist) hero
    • (person of extraordinary accomplishment) hero
    • (key to symbols on a map or chart) guide, key
    • (text on a coin) inscription
    • (fabricated backstory for a spy) cover, cover story
    • (worthy friend) brick

    Related terms


    1. (archaic, transitive) To tell or narrate; to recount.
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