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[lej-er-duh-meyn] /ˌlɛdʒ ər dəˈmeɪn/
sleight of hand.
trickery; deception.
any artful trick.
Origin of legerdemain
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English legerdemeyn, lygarde de mayne < Middle French: literally, light of hand
Related forms
legerdemainist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for legerdemain
Historical Examples
  • The rule of the majority is so very sacred a thing that it is found necessary to regulate it by legerdemain.

    The Crater James Fenimore Cooper
  • Astonishing feats of preparation were consummated as if by legerdemain.

    Nobody Louis Joseph Vance
  • These were to be strung together, and by an effort of legerdemain combined into a coherent whole in the form of a novel.

    A Zola Dictionary J. G. Patterson
  • Priests, however, tolerate no rivals, and permit no legerdemain but their own.

    Gerald Fitzgerald Charles James Lever
  • The association he means has been laid before the public, and a very curious piece of legerdemain it is.

  • Winchester lay the fewest of miles away, but somewhere there was legerdemain.

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • That exposé spoiled the legerdemain market on that particular route, for several years.

  • I admire it as a splendid piece of legerdemain; but it expresses nothing.

    Gryll Grange Thomas Love Peacock
  • He may astonish the natives by his "wonderful feats," but with all his legerdemain he cannot deceive me in any of his movements.

  • A touch of legerdemain and my sword has passed into my left hand.

British Dictionary definitions for legerdemain


another name for sleight of hand
cunning deception or trickery
Derived Forms
legerdemainist, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French: light of hand
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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Contemporary definitions for legerdemain

one who performs magic tricks

Word Origin

French 'light of hand''s 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for legerdemain

early 15c., "conjuring tricks," from Middle French léger de main "quick of hand," literally "light of hand," from léger "light" in weight (from Latin levis "light;" see lever) + main "hand" (from Latin manus; see manual).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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