Simple Definition of legerdemain
: skill in using your hands to perform magic tricks
Full Definition of legerdemain
1 : sleight of hand
2 : a display of skill or adroitness
Examples of legerdemain in a sentence
<the illusionist's show is an entertaining blend of legerdemain and over-the-top showmanship>
<the reduction of the deficit is due in part to financial legerdemain that masks the true costs of running the government>
Did You Know?
In Middle French, folks who were clever enough to fool others with fast-fingered illusions were described as "leger de main," literally "light of hand." English speakers condensed that phrase into a noun when they borrowed it in the 15th century and began using it as an alternative to the older "sleight of hand." (That term for dexterity or skill in using one's hands makes use of "sleight," an old word from Middle English that derives from an Old Norse word meaning "sly.") In more modern times, a feat of legerdemain can even be accomplished without using your hands, as in, for example "an impressive bit of financial legerdemain."
Origin of legerdemain
Middle English, from Middle French leger de main light of hand
First Known Use: 15th century
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