legend


legend
/lej"euhnd/, n.
1. a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical.
2. the body of stories of this kind, esp. as they relate to a particular people, group, or clan: the winning of the West in American legend.
3. an inscription, esp. on a coat of arms, on a monument, under a picture, or the like.
4. a table on a map, chart, or the like, listing and explaining the symbols used. Cf. key1 (def. 8).
5. Numis. inscription (def. 8).
6. a collection of stories about an admirable person.
7. a person who is the center of such stories: She became a legend in her own lifetime.
8. Archaic. a story of the life of a saint, esp. one stressing the miraculous or unrecorded deeds of the saint.
9. Obs. a collection of such stories or stories like them.
[1300-50; 1900-05 for def. 4; ME legende written account of a saint's life < ML legenda lit., (lesson) to be read, n. use of fem. of L legendus, ger. of legere to read; so called because appointed to be read on respective saints' days]
Syn. 1. LEGEND, FABLE, MYTH refer to fictitious stories, usually handed down by tradition (although some fables are modern). LEGEND, originally denoting a story concerning the life of a saint, is applied to any fictitious story, sometimes involving the supernatural, and usually concerned with a real person, place, or other subject: the legend of the Holy Grail.
A FABLE is specifically a fictitious story (often with animals or inanimate things as speakers or actors) designed to teach a moral: a fable about industrious bees. A MYTH is one of a class of stories, usually concerning gods, semidivine heroes, etc., current since primitive times, the purpose of which is to attempt to explain some belief or natural phenomenon: the Greek myth about Demeter.
Ant. 1. fact.

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Traditional story or group of stories told about a particular person or place.

Formerly the term referred to a tale about a saint. Legends resemble folktales in content; they may include supernatural beings, elements of mythology, or explanations of natural phenomena, but they are associated with a particular locality or person. They are handed down from the past and are popularly regarded as historical though they are not entirely verifiable.

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      traditional story or group of stories told about a particular person or place. Formerly the term legend meant a tale about a saint. Legends resemble folktales in content; they may include supernatural beings, elements of mythology, or explanations of natural phenomena, but they are associated with a particular locality or person and are told as a matter of history.

      Some legends are the unique property of the place or person that they depict, such as the story of young George Washington, the future first president of the United States, who confesses to chopping down the cherry tree. But many local legends are actually well-known folktales that have become attached to some particular person or place. For example, a widely distributed folktale of an excellent marksman who is forced to shoot an apple, hazelnut, or some other object from his son's head has become associated with the Swiss hero William Tell. Another popular tale, of a younger son whose only inheritance is a cat, which he sells for a fortune in a land overrun with mice, has become associated with Richard Whittington, thrice lord mayor of London in the early 15th century. The story told about King Lear is essentially the folktale “Love Like Salt.”

      Local legends sometimes travel. Though the Pied Piper of Hamelin is famous through literary treatment, many other European towns have a similar legend of a piper who lured their children away. See also folklore.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:
, , , , / (round a coin or a medal)


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