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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ This kind of legal legerdemain is one of the most damaging legacies of the takeover binge of the 1980s.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Legerdemain \Leg`er*de*main"\ (l[e^]j`[~e]r*d[-e]*m[=a]n"), n. [F. l['e]ger light, nimble + de of + main hand, L. manus. See 3d Leger, and Manual.] Sleight of hand; a trick of sleight of hand; hence, any artful deception or trick.

He of legierdemayne the mysteries did know.

The tricks and legerdemain by which men impose upon their own souls.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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).


n. 1 sleight of hand; "magic" trickery. 2 A show of skill or deceitful ability.


n. an illusory feat; considered magical by naive observers [syn: magic trick, conjuring trick, trick, magic, conjuration, illusion, deception]

Usage examples of "legerdemain".

He will simply allude, in conclusion, to the performances of the Mysterious Foundling, as exhibiting perfection hitherto unparalleled in the Art of Legerdemain, with wonders of untraceable intricacy on the cards, originally the result of abstruse calculations made by that renowned Algebraist, Mohammed Engedi, extending over a period of ten years, dating from the year 1215 of the Arab Chronology.

His work was not legerdemain, skilful manipulation, but recreation, and he found the aureate earth in the forests, on the prairies, and in documents contemporary to his theme.

Legerdemain, sleight of hand, prestidigitation, became the dominant interest of my life.

In the three latest lyrics this stanzaic legerdemain is practised with an enchanting lightness, an ecstasy of sinuous and elastic grace.

His legerdemain can transform zechins and byzants into doits and maravedis.

Confederation's technical legerdemain in space had been recorded from a piggyback scout on one of the bulk carriers, a scout ridden by Lord Cams, with a pilot and a cameraman.

They enlivened their auctioneering with conjuring tricks and witty stories, selling watches by the aid of legerdemain, and fancy vests by grace of a seasonable anecdote.

Abbott may accept my congratulations upon having achieved the most ingenious and masterful exhibition of casuistical legerdemain that it has ever been my fortune to encounter in my readings in the literatures of some thirty centuries and seven different languages.

The king hastened on board, expecting to find his sandal-wood converted into crapes and damasks, and other rich stuffs of China, but found, to his astonishment, by the legerdemain of traffic, his cargo had all disappeared, and, in place of it, remained a bill of charges amounting to three thousand dollars.

A clever conjurer is welcome anywhere, and those of us whose powers of entertainment are limited to the setting of booby-traps or the arranging of apple-pie beds must view with envy the much greater tribute of laughter and applause which is the lot of the prestidigitator with some natural gift for legerdemain.

Pug wondered by what legerdemain Byron had lined up these scarce bottles of California wine.

But anyone simply reading an account of it would conclude that I was gullible, that you had hoaxed me with some simple legerdemain.

He held center stage, right at the seawall itself, performing unlilsely feats of juggling, general legerdemain, and Robin Williams-like improvisational comedy—.

He held center stage, right at the seawall itself, performing unlilsely feats of juggling, general legerdemain, and Robin Williams-like improvisational comedy-on a tightrope, balanced high above water that had not yet made up its mind whether it was Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico.

The parhelia had vanished, and the ice-sheet, as if by some prodigious legerdemain, had resumed its normal horizontality.