a. An unverified story handed down from earlier times, especially one popularly believed to be historical.
b. A body or collection of such stories.
c. See urban legend.
2. One that inspires legends or achieves legendary fame: She is a legend in her own time.
a. An inscription or title on an object, such as a coin.
b. An explanatory caption accompanying an illustration.
c. An explanatory table or list of the symbols appearing on a map or chart.
[Middle English, from Old French legende, from Medieval Latin (lēctiō) legenda, (lesson) to be read, from Latin, feminine gerundive of legere, to read; see leg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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:
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.