[ ban-dee-leg-id, -legd ]
/ ˈbæn diˌlɛg ɪd, -ˌlɛgd /
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having crooked legs; bowlegged.
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Origin of bandy-legged

First recorded in 1680–90

Words nearby bandy-legged

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does bandy-legged mean?

Bandy-legged is used to describe someone with bandy legs—a condition in which the legs curve outward, causing the knees to point outward.

The term bowlegged (or bow-legged) means the same thing and is more common.

The condition known as bandy legs can also be called bowleg or bow legs (in which the word bow is a reference to the type of curve seen in a bow—the kind used to shoot arrows). The adjective bandy means the same thing as bowed—having a bend or crook outward.

Many young children appear to be bandy-legged, but in most cases their legs straighten as they continue to grow. However, in some cases, abnormal bowing of the legs may be caused by diseases like rickets or Blount’s disease.

Bandy-leggedness is associated with cowboys, probably due to the idea that the condition can be the result of spending too much time straddling a saddle. However, frequent horseback riding is unlikely to cause bandy legs.

Example: I was bandy-legged as a kid, but my legs straightened out by the time I was four or so.

Where does bandy-legged come from?

The first records of the term bandy-legged come from the late 1600s. The adjective bandy is almost exclusively used to describe legs. The more common term bowlegged has been used since at least the mid-1500s.

It’s common for many children to appear to be bandy-legged as their legs are developing, but in most cases it does not need to be treated. This isn’t the only condition that involves an abnormal curvature of the legs. The condition known as knock-knee involves the opposite situation, in which the legs are curved inward (resulting in knees that can knock together when walking). Someone with this condition can be described as knock-kneed.

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What are some other forms related to bandy-legged?

  • bandy-leggedness (noun)

What are some synonyms for bandy-legged?

What are some words that share a root or word element with bandylegged

What are some words that often get used in discussing bandylegged?

How is bandy-legged used in real life?

It’s more common to describe someone as bowlegged than bandy-legged. Such descriptions may be used in the context of medical diagnoses, but describing someone this way may be rude or insensitive.

How to use bandy-legged in a sentence