leg·​end | \ˈle-jənd \

Definition of legend 

1a : a story coming down from the past especially : one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable the legend of a lost continent Arthurian legends

b : a body of such stories a place in the legend of the frontier

c : a popular myth of recent origin the legend of the Loch Ness monster

d : a person or thing that inspires legends a baseball legend

e : the subject of a legend its violence was legend even in its own time— William Broyles Jr.

2a : an inscription or title on an object (such as a coin) The quarter bore the legend "In God We Trust".

b : caption sense 2b The legend identifies the various parts of the illustrated anatomy.

c : an explanatory list of the symbols on a map or chart

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Examples of legend in a Sentence

I don't believe the legends I've heard about this forest. the legend of a lost continent He has become a baseball legend. The gravestone bears the legend “Rest in Peace.”
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Recent Examples on the Web

By then, the colony—which included his granddaughter, Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America, according to legend—had vanished, leaving only a few tantalising clues behind. The Economist, "The tale of the “Lost Colony” is a chronicle of delusion," 7 June 2018 According to Māori legend, Hinehukatere persuaded her lover to climb the mountain with her. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Before She Was Royal: Meghan Markle's Camper Van Road Trip Through New Zealand," 17 May 2018 Much of Ludtke’s work involved historical figures, from presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan to baseball legend Babe Ruth and military figures such as ace fighter pilot General Robinson Risner, who served in the military from 1944 to 1976. Patricia Dillon, Houston Chronicle, "Lawrence Ludtke sculptures featured at Glade Cultural Center," 12 May 2018 Getty Images As one Twitter user pointed out, the eyes are a nod to Saint Lucy, who, according to one legend gouged her own eyes out to discourage a potential suitor who admired them. Marie Claire, "Jared Leto Is a Gucci Jesus at the 2018 Met Gala," 8 May 2018 According to legend, the great sword Excalibur was imposing and beautiful. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 According to legend, Pat, weary of hot dogs, suggested that Harry go to a store and buy some beef. Joseph A. Gambardello, Philly.com, "Philly cheesesteak: Everything you need to know," 5 July 2018 Trump said, referring to golf legend Phil Mickelson. Gregg Re, Fox News, "Trump touts progress on military, veterans issues at armed forces charity dinner," 3 July 2018 A week ago, former Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali was talking up quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the NFL Network and made the comparison to Packers legend Brett Favre. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Brett Favre's former teammate 'beginning to buy into the hype' about Patrick Mahomes," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'legend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of legend

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for legend

Middle English legende, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French legende, from Medieval Latin legenda, from Latin, feminine of legendus, gerundive of legere to gather, select, read; akin to Greek legein to gather, say, logos speech, word, reason

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Learn More about legend

Dictionary Entries near legend


leg bye

leg drop





Statistics for legend

Last Updated

1 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for legend

The first known use of legend was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for legend



English Language Learners Definition of legend

: a story from the past that is believed by many people but cannot be proved to be true

: a famous or important person who is known for doing something extremely well

: a list that explains the symbols on a map


leg·​end | \ˈle-jənd \

Kids Definition of legend

1 : an old story that is widely believed but cannot be proved to be true

2 : a person or thing that is very famous for having special qualities or abilities a baseball legend

3 : a list of symbols used (as on a map)

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Comments on legend

What made you want to look up legend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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