Word of the Day Archive
Saturday October 16, 1999
legerdemain \lej-ur-duh-MAIN\ , noun:
1. Sleight of hand.
2. A display of skill, trickery, or artful deception.
We are inclined to regard the treatment of [paradoxes] . . . as a mere legerdemain of words.
-- Benjamin Jowett, Dialogues of Plato
Their alleged legerdemain at the blackjack table and roulette wheel of the luxurious Salle Anglaise was caught on closed-circuit television.
-- "Double dealing puts Monte Carlo in a spin", Daily Telegraph, February 23, 1997
There is a certain knack or legerdemain in argument.
-- Shaftesbury, Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times
Legerdemain is from Old French leger de main, literally "light of hand": leger, "light" + de, "of" + main, "hand."