legerity

noun

le·​ger·​i·​ty lə-ˈjer-ə-tē How to pronounce legerity (audio)
le-,
-ˈje-rə-
: alert facile quickness of mind or body

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When legerity first appeared in English in the 1500s, it drew significantly upon the concept of being "light on one's feet," and appropriately so. It is derived from the Middle and Old French legereté ("lightness"), which was formed from the Old French adjective leger ("light in weight"). Leger comes from an assumed Vulgar Latin adjective, leviarius, a descendent of the older Latin levis ("having little weight"). These days, legerity can describe a nimbleness of mind as well as of the feet. A cousin of legerity in English is legerdemain, meaning "sleight of hand" or "a display of skill or adroitness." Legerdemain comes from the French phrase leger de main, meaning "light of hand."

Word History

Etymology

Middle French legereté, from Old French, lightness, from leger light, from Vulgar Latin *leviarius, from Latin levis — more at light

First Known Use

1590, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of legerity was in 1590

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Dictionary Entries Near legerity

Cite this Entry

“Legerity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/legerity. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

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