- a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical.
- the body of stories of this kind, especially as they relate to a particular people, group, or clan: the winning of the West in American legend.
- an inscription, especially on a coat of arms, on a monument, under a picture, or the like.
- a table on a map, chart, or the like, listing and explaining the symbols used.Compare key1(def 8).
- Numismatics. inscription(def 8).
- a collection of stories about an admirable person.
- a person who is the center of such stories: She became a legend in her own lifetime.
- Archaic. a story of the life of a saint, especially one stressing the miraculous or unrecorded deeds of the saint.
- Obsolete. a collection of such stories or stories like them.
Origin of legend
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for legend
Founded by German monks in present-day Old Town Stockholm, Zum Franziskaner has become a legend amongst locals and tourists.Inside The World’s 10 Oldest Restaurants
December 20, 2014
Without proof of this kind, the story of the lost legions is just a legend.The Chinese Town Descended From Romans?
December 4, 2014
The last straw was when Congressman John Lewis—the Civil Rights legend—came out in support of Hillary Clinton in October 2007.The Valerie Jarrett I Know: How She Saved the Obama Campaign and Why She’s Indispensable
November 18, 2014
She was also an autodidact, an illegitimate girl from the provinces whose intelligence became the stuff of legend.Sor Juana: Mexico’s Most Erotic Poet and Its Most Dangerous Nun
November 8, 2014
That, too, is the test for Cadillac—to resuscitate a legend.Nationalism on Four Wheels
October 18, 2014
The other, and even more popular, legend is that of "The Harmonious Blacksmith."Handel
Edward J. Dent
True child of Alsace, he revelled in local folklore and legend.In the Heart of Vosges
The "accursed" gold of legend is often dragon-guarded and placed under a spell.Beowulf
Enter the first division, and a legend at your feet indicated the ten-cent territory.Meadow Grass
Then, too, there was quite a legend attached to this pretty girl.My Double Life
- a popular story handed down from earlier times whose truth has not been ascertained
- a group of such storiesthe Arthurian legend
- a modern story that has taken on the characteristics of a traditional legendary tale
- a person whose fame or notoriety makes him a source of exaggerated or romanticized tales or exploits
- an inscription or title, as on a coin or beneath a coat of arms
- explanatory matter accompanying a table, map, chart, etc
- a story of the life of a saint
- a collection of such stories
Word Origin and History for legend
early 14c., "narrative dealing with a happening or an event," from Old French legende (12c., Modern French légende) and directly from Medieval Latin legenda "legend, story," literally "(things) to be read," on certain days in church, etc., from Latin legendus, neuter plural gerundive of legere "to read, gather, select" (see lecture (n.)).
Used originally of saints' lives; extended sense of "nonhistorical or mythical story" first recorded late 14c. Meaning "writing or inscription" (especially on a coin or medal) is from 1610s; on a map, illustration, etc., from 1903.