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(1)   Brief description accompanying an illustration
(2)   A story about mythical or supernatural beings or events


< < < , neut. pl. of fut. pass. part. of .


  1. A story of unknown origin describing plausible but extraordinary past events. Also historical legend.
    The legend of Troy was discovered to have historical basis.
  2. A story in which a kernel of truth is embellished to an unlikely degree.
    The 1984 Rose Bowl prank has spawned many legends. Here's the real story.
  3. A leading protagonist in a historical legend.
    Achilles is a legend in Greek culture.
  4. Any person of extraordinary accomplishment.
    Michael Jordan stands as a legend in basketball.
  5. A key to the symbols and color codes on a map, chart, etc.
    According to the legend on the map, that building is a school.
  6. The text on a coin.
  7. A fabricated backstory for spies, complete with appropriate documents and records.
    According to his legend, he once worked for the Red Cross, spreading humanitarian aid in Africa.
    • 1992, Ronald Kessler, Inside the CIA, 1994 Pocket Books edition, ISBN 067173458X, page 115:
      If the documents are needed to establish "a light legend," meaning a superficial cover story, no steps are taken to make sure that if someone calls the college or motor vehicle department, the name on the document will be registered.
    • 2003, Rodney Carlisle, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Spies and Espionage, Alpha Books, ISBN 0028644182, page 105:
      Sorge solidified his own position by returning to Germany and developing a new legend. He joined the Nazi Party.
    • 2005, Curtis Peebles, Twilight Warriors, Naval Institute Press, ISBN 1591146607, page 25:
      Both the agent's legend and documents were intended to stand up against casual questions from Soviet citizens, such as during a job interview, or a routine police document check, such as were made at railway stations.