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legion

[ lee-juhn ]
/ ˈli dʒən /
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noun
a division of the Roman army, usually comprising 3000 to 6000 soldiers.
a military or semimilitary unit.
any large group of armed men.
any great number of persons or things; multitude.
adjective
very great in number: The holy man's faithful followers were legion.
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Origin of legion

1175–1225; Middle English legi(o)un (<Old French ) <Latin legiōn- (stem of legiō) picked body of soldiers, equivalent to leg(ere) to gather, choose, read + -iōn--ion
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What is a legion?

A legion is a large group of people or things, most commonly soldiers, as in World-famous author Stephen King has a legion of fans. 

Legion can also describe a very large number, as in The number of soccer fans around the world is legion.

During the Roman Empire, legion referred to a division of the army that numbered between 3,000 to 6,000 soldiers. As a result, we use legion to refer to a large number of soldiers. However, legion is now used more generally to mean any big group of people or things.

Example: The city was filled with legions of fans after the rock star announced they would perform a concert there.

Where does legion come from?

The first records of legion come from around 1175. It ultimately comes from the Latin legiōn, meaning “a gathered body of soldiers.”

The Roman army, one of the most powerful in history, was divided into military units or groups known as legions. Legions were made of thousands of soldiers who kept order in Rome’s huge empire. Many organizations since, such as the American Legion and the French Foreign Legion have likely used the word legion to refer to Rome’s military power.

Today, legion is instead used more generally to mean a very big group of people or things. Similar to a horde or a swarm, a legion is a group so large that it is beyond counting and might even seem endless. A large library, for example, might be stocked with legions of books that fill hundreds of shelves.

Similarly, legion also describes a gigantic number. For example, in the Bible, a demon possessing a man tells Jesus that “my name is Legion, for we are many.” The hacker group Anonymous describes itself as legion because of its supposed large number of members.

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What are some other forms related to legion?

What are some synonyms for legion?

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

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

How is legion used in real life?

Legion is often used to mean a huge group of people or things.

 

 

Try using legion!

Is legion used correctly in the following sentence?

The protest was attended by a legion of people that stretched for miles.

How to use legion in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for legion

legion
/ (ˈliːdʒən) /

noun
a military unit of the ancient Roman army made up of infantry with supporting cavalry, numbering some three to six thousand men
any large military forcethe French Foreign Legion
(usually capital) an association of ex-servicementhe British Legion
(often plural) any very large number, esp of people
adjective
(usually postpositive) very large or numerous

Word Origin for legion

C13: from Old French, from Latin legio, from legere to choose
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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