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[leg-uh-see] /ˈlɛg ə si/
noun, plural legacies.
Law. a gift of property, especially personal property, as money, by will; a bequest.
anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor:
the legacy of ancient Rome.
an applicant to or student at a school that was attended by his or her parent.
Obsolete. the office, function, or commission of a legate.
of or relating to old or outdated computer hardware, software, or data that, while still functional, does not work well with up-to-date systems.
Origin of legacy
1325-75; Middle English legacie office of a deputy or legate < Medieval Latin lēgātia. See legate, -acy
1, 2. inheritance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for legacy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He came more and more to feel that Raby was a legacy left by Hetty to him.

  • The cheque was returned, the legacy refused, the writer being in no need of money.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • He had had several talks with Bradley and with her about her legacy from Judge Knowles.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • He told of the lawyer's letter, omitting for the present the news of the legacy.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter Joseph C. Lincoln
  • And then, in this December of the year 1910, fell as from a clear sky the legacy of a grandson.

    The Portygee Joseph Crosby Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for legacy


noun (pl) -cies
a gift by will, esp of money or personal property
something handed down or received from an ancestor or predecessor
(modifier) surviving computer systems, hardware, or software: legacy network, legacy application
Word Origin
C14 (meaning: office of a legate), C15 (meaning: bequest): from Medieval Latin lēgātia commission; see legate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for legacy

late 14c., "body of persons sent on a mission," from Old French legatie "legate's office," from Medieval Latin legatia, from Latin legatus "ambassador, envoy," noun use of past participle of legare "appoint by a last will, send as a legate" (see legate). Sense of "property left by will" appeared in Scottish mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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