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leg (lĕg)
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n.
1.
a. One of the limbs or appendages that an animal uses for locomotion or support.
b. One of the lower or hind limbs in humans and other primates.
c. The part of the limb between the knee and foot in vertebrates.
d. The back part of the hindquarter of a meat animal.
2. A supporting part resembling a leg in shape or function.
3. One of the branches of a forked or jointed object.
4. The part of a garment, especially of a pair of pants, that covers the leg.
5. Mathematics Either side of a right triangle that is not the hypotenuse.
6. A stage of a journey or course, especially:
a. Nautical The distance traveled by a sailing vessel on a single tack.
b. The part of an air route or a flight pattern that is between two successive stops, positions, or changes in direction.
c. One of several contests that must be successfully completed in order to determine the winner of a competition.
d. Sports One stretch of a relay race.
7. legs The narrow streams of swirled wine or spirits that run slowly down along the inside of a glass, often believed to indicate that the liquid is full-bodied.
8. legs Slang The ability to last or sustain success, especially by appealing to an audience: a blockbuster movie that has legs.
intr.v. legged, leg·ging, legs
Informal
To go on foot; walk or run. Often used with the indefinite it: Because we missed the bus, we had to leg it across town.
Idioms:
a leg to stand on Slang
A justifiable or logical basis for defense; support: He doesn't have a leg to stand on in this debate.
a leg up Slang
1. The act or an instance of assisting; a boost.
2. A position of advantage; an edge: We have a leg up on the competition.
on (one's) last legs
At the end of one's strength or resources; ready to collapse, fail, or die.

[Middle English, from Old Norse leggr.]
(click for a larger image)
leg

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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