Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An unverified story handed down from earlier times, especially one popularly believed to be historical.
  • n. A body or collection of such stories.
  • n. A romanticized or popularized myth of modern times.
  • n. One that inspires legends or achieves legendary fame.
  • n. An inscription or a title on an object, such as a coin.
  • n. An explanatory caption accompanying an illustration.
  • n. An explanatory table or list of the symbols appearing on a map or chart.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A story of unknown origin describing plausible but extraordinary past events.
  • n. A story in which a kernel of truth is embellished to an unlikely degree.
  • n. A leading protagonist in a historical legend.
  • n. A person of extraordinary accomplishment.
  • n. A key to the symbols and color codes on a map, chart, etc.
  • n. The text on a coin.
  • n. A fabricated backstory for a spy, with associated documents and records; a cover story.
  • n. A cool, nice or helpful person, especially one who is male.
  • v. To tell or narrate; to recount.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which is appointed to be read; especially, a chronicle or register of the lives of saints, formerly read at matins, and in the refectories of religious houses.
  • n. A story respecting saints; especially, one of a marvelous nature.
  • n. Any wonderful story coming down from the past, but not verifiable by historical record; a myth; a fable.
  • n. An inscription, motto, or title, esp. one surrounding the field in a medal or coin, or placed upon an heraldic shield or beneath an engraving or illustration.
  • transitive v. To tell or narrate, as a legend.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To narrate or celebrate in or as in a legend.
  • To furnish with an inscription; inscribe with a legend: as, “a legended tomb,”
  • n. In the early church, a selection of readings from Scripture appointed for use at divine service; later, and more especially, the chronicle or register of the lives of the saints, formerly read at matins and in the refectories of religious houses.
  • n. An entertaining story, especially in early times one relating to wonders or miracles told of a saint; hence, any unauthentic and improbable or non-historical narrative handed down from early times; a tradition.
  • n. A musical composition set to a poetical story, or intended to express such a story without words.
  • n. An inscription or device of any kind; particularly, the inscription on a shield or coat or arms, or the explanatory inscription on a monument or under a plan or drawing, or the inscription which accompanies a picture, whether descriptive or supposed to stand for words used by the persons represented in the picture.
  • n. In numismatics, the words or letters stamped on the obverse or the reverse of a coin or medal: sometimes differentiated from, inscription as the reading around the circumference of a coin or medal, and sometimes as all that is inscribed excepting the name of the sovereign or other person represented.
  • n. A roll; list; book.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. brief description accompanying an illustration
  • n. a story about mythical or supernatural beings or events

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French legende, from Medieval Latin (lēctiō) legenda, (lesson) to be read, from Latin, feminine gerundive of legere, to read; see leg- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • Origin of the word:

    c.1340, from O.Fr. legende (12c.), from M.L. legenda "legend, story," lit. "(things) to be read," on certain days in church, etc., from neuter plural gerundive of L. legere "to read, gather, select" (see lecture). Used originally of saints' lives; extended sense of "nonhistorical or mythical story" first recorded 1613. Meaning "writing or inscription" (especially on a coin or medal) is from 1611; on a map, illustration, etc., from 1903.

    June 13, 2008

  • A legend (Latin, legenda, "things to be read") is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude. Legend, for its active and passive participants, includes no happenings that are outside the realm of "possibility", defined by a highly flexible set of parameters, which may include miracles that are perceived as actually having happened, within the specific tradition of indoctrination where the legend arises, and within which it may be transformed over time, in order to keep it fresh and vital, and realistic.

    A legend is a story, that is probably about someone that did exist but has been twisted to seem more interesting and fascinating. This story is passed down generation to generation. Most legends are pourquoi stories.

    Ernst Bernheim suggested that legend is simply the survival of rumour.

    June 13, 2008

  • .

    June 13, 2008