leg·​end | \ ˈle-jənd How to pronounce legend (audio) \

Essential Meaning of legend

1 : a story from the past that is believed by many people but cannot be proved to be true I don't believe the legends I've heard about this forest. the legend of a lost continent According to legend, the city was destroyed by a great flood in ancient times. = Legend has it that the city was destroyed by a great flood in ancient times.
2 : a famous or important person who is known for doing something extremely well He has become a baseball legend. a guitar-playing legend She is a legend in her own time. = She is a living legend. [=she has become a legend while still living]
3 : a list that explains the symbols on a map

Full 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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Synonyms for legend


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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 There is Execution Rocks Lighthouse, named for the legend of colonial prisoners who during the Revolutionary War were taken there, chained to the rocks and left to drown with the rising tide. Jordan Salama, Scientific American, 12 Oct. 2021 Twenty years later, the legend of Tenacious D itself seems more remarkable than, say, being able to kill a yak from 200 yards a way with mind bullets. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 24 Sep. 2021 Entwined with the Chinese legend of Chang'e, goddess of the moon, the festival follows the Chinese lunisolar calendar, falling on the 15th day of the eighth month. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, The Arizona Republic, 17 Sep. 2021 The Iklwa shaped top was also reflective of a jewelry piece inspired by the legend of Shaka Zulu, founder of the Zulu Empire in Southern Africa who defended against European colonialism. Cassell Ferere, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 The legend of the Mankiewicz brothers has always been with Nick Davis. Chris Vognar, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2021 Agatha Christie’s fan – as well as the legend of a treasure that is believed to be buried in the town. Emiliano De Pablos, Variety, 13 Sep. 2021 The exhibition will explore the Hindu legend of Krishna, who saved humanity from a deluge by raising Mount Govardhan over his head like a giant umbrella. Steven Litt, cleveland, 7 Sep. 2021 The legend of Scott Bock — human services executive extraordinaire — began with one little girl. BostonGlobe.com, 24 Aug. 2021

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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Time Traveler for legend

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

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Dictionary Entries Near legend

leg drop



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Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Legend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/legend. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for legend


leg·​end | \ ˈle-jənd How to pronounce legend (audio) \

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)

More from Merriam-Webster on legend

Nglish: Translation of legend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of legend for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about legend


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