Definition of leg in English:

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Pronunciation: /lɛɡ/


1Each of the limbs on which a person or animal walks and stands: Adams broke his leg he was off as fast as his legs would carry him [as modifier]: a leg injury
More example sentences
  • This dinosaur grew to about four meters long and a little over a meter tall, walking on all four legs.
  • The beast stood on two legs, but walked hunched over, with its front claws just inches off the ground.
  • I was feeling so unnerved, and uncomfortable by now, the small hairs on my arms and legs stood on end.
lower limb, shank;
limb, member
technical crus
informal stump, peg, pin
1.1A leg of an animal or bird as food: a roast leg of lamb
More example sentences
  • Roast chicken legs in a slow oven until the flesh falls off the bone when pressed.
  • He ripped a chicken leg off the bird and chewed happily, a bit of grease dripping down his chin.
  • Next time you roast chicken or a leg of lamb, tuck some pumpkin chunks into the roasting dish.
1.2A part of a garment covering a leg or part of a leg: his trouser leg
More example sentences
  • Trouser legs are down to ankles and kaftans are girded with a long piece of rope.
  • Max Mara proposes high-waisted pants closed with a row of tiny buttons down the legs.
  • Charlie looked down at the eager young man sat on the edge of his seat, pawing at the rigid pleat of his trouser leg.
1.3 (legs) informal (With reference to a ball, especially in golf) sufficient momentum to reach the desired point.
Example sentences
  • Instead he went one better, judging the line perfectly and giving the ball just enough legs to make it up the slope for a winning birdie.
1.4 (legs) informal (With reference to a product or idea) sustained popularity or success: some books have legs, others don’t
More example sentences
  • With the Alberta Foundation for the Arts stepping up the whole idea grew some legs.
  • An idea needs legs, and no more humane way exists of evaluating an idea than seeing how it gets about.
  • Mr Holland showed his prototype to local entrepreneur David Campbell who thought the idea had legs.
2Each of the supports of a chair, table, or other structure: table legs the house was set on legs
More example sentences
  • He got up from the table, his chair legs scraping against the ground when he pushed it back.
  • Seated in the chair facing the mirror, chained to the leg of the table, was Darren Hammer.
  • Improvised weapons such as shovels, chairs and table legs also can be used to fend off adversaries.
upright, support, prop, brace, underpinning, column
3A section or stage of a journey or process: the return leg of his journey
More example sentences
  • This is used to cover the expenses incurred on the return leg of the journey.
  • He was still feeling poorly at Cannes, where it poured with rain, and so they proceeded on the return leg of their journey via Paris.
  • As the two-stroke fumes were starting to make even the more robust feel queasy, we embarked upon the return leg of our journey.
part, stage, portion, segment, section, bit, phase, stretch, lap, step, instalment;
passage, subdivision, subsection, juncture
3.1 Sailing A run made on a single tack: an important part of the upwind leg
More example sentences
  • A sail blows off the foredeck and a spinnaker drum jams so they can't jibe on the downwind leg.
  • At the Australian Open in Deniliquin I was inclined to call difficult tasks with upwind legs.
  • Of course, it is late in the day, and the lift always seems to be the worse on the upwind legs.
3.2(In soccer and other sports) each of two games constituting a round of a competition: they were defending a 3-0 lead from the first leg
More example sentences
  • There's been more action in the opening five minutes of this game than in both legs of the all-Milan semi-final.
  • Alex McLeish's side came off second best to the Russian champions in the first leg of their final qualifying round tie.
  • The runners-up from the eight groups will play the first leg of their second round ties at home, which may offer a small advantage to their opponents.
3.3A section of a relay or other race done in stages: one leg of its race round the globe
More example sentences
  • The 800-metres specialist clocked a season's best 48.4 in the 400 metres and was even quicker in his leg of the relay.
  • ‘We wanted to do better, but this is what we had,’ said Phelps, who swam the second leg of the relay.
  • On the first leg of the race ‘Loose Cannon’ outdistanced the fleet leaving them in a wind hole at the windward mark.
3.4A single game in a darts match: he took the first leg with 7 darts
More example sentences
  • Not only this, but, fortified by the fact that I had drunk his lager by mistake, Ken managed to hit the winning double in the second leg of the last match.
  • I played two or three legs of fantastic darts and then didn't play well for a couple.
  • Then Smallwood hit a 130 to give him the edge to take the title-winning leg in 23 darts.
4A branch of a forked object.
5 (also leg side) Cricket The half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch) away from which the batsman’s feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball: he played a lucky stroke to leg The opposite of off.
More example sentences
  • Wavell Hinds nicked his first delivery, and Lee struck again when he angled a ball down the leg side that flicked Chris Gayle's glove.
  • With so many fielders on the leg side, Younis spent the better part of his innings improvising, mostly with excellent reverse-sweeps.
  • Using his exceptionally nimble footwork, he scurried away to the leg side and swatted the ball into the empty offside field.
6 archaic A deferential gesture made by drawing back one leg and bending it while keeping the front leg straight.

verb (legs, legging, legged)

[with object]
1 (leg it) British informal Travel by foot; walk: I am part of a team legging it around London
More example sentences
  • He legged it back to the taxi containing his producer and production team.
  • I had money on him taking the cash and legging it.
  • ‘Then two men pushed us aside and ripped the front off the machine before legging it past Waverley's and Safeway into the cemetery,’ she said.
walk, march, tramp, trek, trudge, plod, wander, ramble, go on foot
informal go on Shanks's pony
1.1Run away: he legged it after someone shouted at him
More example sentences
  • When we attempted to contact them for an explanation as to this outrage, we were told that they had just legged it down the fire escape and into the nearest pub.
  • I make a move like I'm going to start running after him and he shrieks slightly before legging it out the door.
  • She legged it into a back room and they tried to force their way into the cash drawer.
run away, run, flee, make off, make a break for it, escape, hurry, decamp
informal hightail it, hotfoot it, make a run for it, make tracks, cut and run, skedaddle, vamoose, show a clean pair of heels, split, scoot, scram, hook it
British informal scarper, do a runner, have it away (on one's toes), get cracking, get a move on
2chiefly historical Propel (a boat) through a tunnel on a canal by pushing with one’s legs against the tunnel roof or sides: a little boy was lying on his back, legging the boat along
More example sentences
  • It was taken in 1914 after he broke the canal's record for the time taken to leg a boat through the tunnel.



feel (or find) one's legs

Become able to stand or walk.
Example sentences
  • She began to feel her legs again, so she brought herself up to a stand with little effort.
  • My senses finally rushing back to me, I found my legs and charged out of the elevator with a vivacity that I didn't even know I possessed.
  • Nikki faltered and found her legs again as she sat down.

get one's leg over

British vulgar slang (Of a man) have sexual intercourse.

have the legs of

British Be able to go faster or further than (a rival): he should have the legs of his eight rivals here
More example sentences
  • Dingle looked far more potent going forward where John Flannery had the legs of Tomas Hannifin at centre back, which was not surprising as Hannifin was on the last Lispole winning side back in 87.
  • Reeder and Ward were close as always but it seemed that Carman had the legs of these two, as Jones did on Carman.

not have a leg to stand on

Have no facts or sound reasons to support one’s argument or justify one’s actions.
Example sentences
  • Once again, I was hit with the frustration that came with knowing I didn't have a leg to stand on.
  • Legally, he didn't have a leg to stand on under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause.
  • You see, when you don't have a leg to stand on, you immediately try to change the subject so you can talk about something else.

on one's hind legs

British informal, dated Standing up to make a speech: he wasn’t afraid to get up on his hind legs at a social gathering and talk
More example sentences
  • All you wanted was a chance to stand on your hind legs and make a speech.
  • And then there are times when we have to stand up on our hind legs and put up a glorious fight against all reason.
  • He was up on his hind legs recently giving an impassioned plea for young people to participate in politics.

on one's last legs

Near the end of life, usefulness, or existence: the foundry business was on its last legs
More example sentences
  • The latest ratings have aroused claims that reality television shows are on their last legs.
  • The guy looked like he was on his last legs, moving into court very slowly.
  • If they were ninety and on their last legs, I might understand it, but these are barely out of their teens.
dilapidated, worn out, rickety, about to break, about to fall apart, about to collapse
about to fail, failing, about to go bankrupt, near to ruin, going to the wall
informal going bust, going down the toilet



[in combination]: a three-legger
More example sentences
  • If two leggers are respectful and properly admiring of us for the exotic, superior beings that we are, then we will always be well behaved in return.


Middle English (superseding shank): from Old Norse leggr (compare with Danish læg 'calf (of the leg)'), of Germanic origin.

  • Leg took over from the earlier word Shank. It is from Old Norse legg. The use of leg for a short section (leg of a journey) found from the 1920s, has developed from the nautical application of the term in the early 17th century when it described a short rope branching out into two or more parts.

Words that rhyme with leg

beg, cleg, egg, Eigg, Greg, keg, Meg, peg, skeg, teg, yegg

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: leg

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