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Word of the Day

Sunday, September 23, 2018
Definitions for legerdemain
  1. trickery; deception.
  2. sleight of hand.
  3. any artful trick.

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Citations for legerdemain
... it was precisely that sort of legerdemain—tapping a dicey loan with the magic wand of financialization—which built the mortgage-securitization industry to begin with. Tad Friend, "Home Economics," The New Yorker, February 4, 2013
The city today stretches out along the flatlands by the Fyris River, then ripples up a glacial ridge, culminating in a massive sixteenth-century castle painted the color of a poached salmon—a bit of legerdemain by pigment that leavens the bulky fortress considerably. Emily Hiestand, "The Constant Gardener," The Atlantic, March 2007
Origin of legerdemain
late Middle English
1400-1450
There are about 50 spellings in Middle English for (modern) legerdemain. The English word most likely comes from a Middle French phrase leger de main “light of hand,” which is unfortunately unrecorded. Middle French has two similar idioms meaning “to be dexterous”: estre ligier de sa main, literally “to be light of his hand” and avoir la main legiere, literally “to have the light hand.” In English, legerdemain first meant “skill in conjuring, sleight of hand” and acquired the sense “trickery, artful deception” in the 16th century. Legerdemain entered English in the 15th century.
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