leg-work (n.) Look up leg-work at Dictionary.com
1891, from leg (n.) + work (n.). Originally news reporter slang for an assignment that produced more walking than text.
legacy (n.) Look up legacy at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "body of persons sent on a mission," from Old French legatie "legate's office," from Medieval Latin legatia, from Latin legatus "ambassador, envoy," noun use of past participle of legare "appoint by a last will, send as a legate" (see legate). Sense of "property left by will" appeared in Scottish mid-15c.
legal (adj.) Look up legal at Dictionary.com
mid-15c. "of or pertaining to the law," from Middle French légal or directly from Latin legalis "legal, pertaining to the law," from lex (genitive legis) "law," possibly related to legere "to gather," on notion of "a collection of rules" (see lecture (n.)).

Sense of "permitted by law" is from 1640s. Related: Legally. The Old French form was leial, loial (see leal, loyal). Legal tender is from 1740.
legalese (n.) Look up legalese at Dictionary.com
"the language of legal documents," 1914, from legal + language name ending -ese.
legalistic (adj.) Look up legalistic at Dictionary.com
1843, from legalist (1640s); see legal + -istic.
legality (n.) Look up legality at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Middle French légalité, from Medieval Latin legalitatem (nominative legalitas), from Latin legalis "pertaining to the law" (see legal).
legalization (n.) Look up legalization at Dictionary.com
1805, noun of action from legalize.
legalize (v.) Look up legalize at Dictionary.com
1716, from legal + -ize. Related: Legalized; legalizing.
legate (n.) Look up legate at Dictionary.com
mid-12c., "authorized representative of the Pope," from Old French legat and directly from Latin legatus "ambassador, envoy," originally "provided with a commission," past participle of legare "send as a deputy, send with a commission, bequeath," from lex (genitive legis) "contract, law" (see legal). General sense of "ambassador, delegate, messenger" is from late 14c.
legation (n.) Look up legation at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Old French legation and directly from Latin legationem (nominative legatio) "the office of an ambassador," noun of action from past participle stem of legare (see legate).
legato Look up legato at Dictionary.com
1811, from Italian legato, literally "bound," past participle of legare, from Latin ligare (see ligament). Of music to be played smoothly, without intervals.
legem pone Look up legem pone at Dictionary.com
"payment of money, cash down," 1570s, from first two words of the fifth division of Psalm cxix, which begins the psalms at Matins on the 25th of the month; consequently associated with March 25, a quarter day in the old financial calendar, when payments and debts came due.
legend (n.) Look up legend at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "narrative dealing with a happening or an event," from Old French legende (12c., Modern French légende) and directly from Medieval Latin legenda "legend, story," literally "(things) to be read," on certain days in church, etc., from Latin legendus, neuter plural gerundive of legere "to read, gather, select" (see lecture (n.)).

Used originally of saints' lives; extended sense of "nonhistorical or mythical story" first recorded late 14c. Meaning "writing or inscription" (especially on a coin or medal) is from 1610s; on a map, illustration, etc., from 1903.
legendary (adj.) Look up legendary at Dictionary.com
mid-16c., from Medieval Latin legendarius, from legenda (see legend). Earlier it was a noun meaning "a collection of legends" (1510s).
legerdemain (n.) Look up legerdemain at Dictionary.com
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).
legging (n.) Look up legging at Dictionary.com
"extra outer covering to protect the leg," 1763, from leg (n.). Related: Leggings.
leggy (adj.) Look up leggy at Dictionary.com
1787, from leg (n.) + -y (2).
Leghorn Look up Leghorn at Dictionary.com
breed of fowl, 1869, from Leghorn, city in Italy (modern Livorno, 16c.-17c. Legorno), from Latin Liburnus, from the native people name Liburni, which is of unknown signification.
legibility (n.) Look up legibility at Dictionary.com
1670s; see legible + -ity.
legible (adj.) Look up legible at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Late Latin legibilis "that can be read," from Latin legere "to read" (see lecture (n.)). Related: Legibly.
legion (n.) Look up legion at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, from Old French legion "Roman legion" (3,000 to 6,000 men, under Marius usually with attached cavalry), from Latin legionem (nominative legio) "body of soldiers," from legere "to choose, gather," also "to read" (see lecture (n.)).

Generalized sense of "a large number" is due to translations of allusive phrase in Mark v:9. American Legion, U.S. association of ex-servicemen, founded in 1919. Legion of Honor is French légion d'honneur, an order of distinction founded by Napoleon in 1802. Foreign Legion is French légion étrangère "body of foreign volunteers in a modern army," originally Polish, Belgian, etc. units in French army; they traditionally served in colonies or distant expeditions.
legionnaire (n.) Look up legionnaire at Dictionary.com
1818, from French légionnaire, from légion (see legion). Legionnaires' Disease, caused by Legionella pneumophilia, was named after the lethal outbreak of July 1976 at the American Legion convention in Philadelphia's Bellevue Stratford Hotel. Hence Legionella as the name of the bacterium that causes it.
legislate (v.) Look up legislate at Dictionary.com
1805, back-formation from legislation, etc. Related: Legislated; legislating.
legislation (n.) Look up legislation at Dictionary.com
1650s, from French législation, from Late Latin legislationem (nominative legislatio), properly two words, legis latio, "proposing (literally 'bearing') of a law;" see legislator.
legislative (adj.) Look up legislative at Dictionary.com
1640s; from legislator + -ive. Related: Legislatively.
legislator (n.) Look up legislator at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from Latin legis lator "proposer of a law," from legis, genitive of lex "law" (see legal (adj.)) + lator "proposer," agent noun of latus "borne, brought, carried" (see oblate (n.)), used as past tense of ferre "to carry" (see infer). Fem. form legislatrix is from 1670s.
legislature (n.) Look up legislature at Dictionary.com
1670s; see legislator + -ure.
legit Look up legit at Dictionary.com
colloquial shortening of legitimate, 1897, originally in theater, in reference to legitimate drama, that which has literary merit (Shakespeare, etc.).
legitimacy (n.) Look up legitimacy at Dictionary.com
1690s, of children; general use by 1836; see legitimate + -cy. Legitimateness an earlier word for it.
legitimate (adj.) Look up legitimate at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "lawfully begotten," from Middle French legitimer and directly from Medieval Latin legitimatus, past participle of legitimare "make lawful, declare to be lawful," from Latin legitimus "lawful," originally "fixed by law, in line with the law," from lex (genitive legis) "law" (see legal). Transferred sense of "genuine, real" is attested from 1550s. Related: Legitimately.
legitimate (v.) Look up legitimate at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Medieval Latin legitimatus, past participle of legitimare (see legitimate (adj.)). Related: Legitimated; legitimating.
legitimation (n.) Look up legitimation at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Middle French légitimation, from Medieval Latin legitimationem (nominative legitimatio), noun of action from past participle stem of legitimare (see legitimate (adj.)).
legitimism (n.) Look up legitimism at Dictionary.com
1877, from French légitimisme; see legitimate (adj.) + -ism.
legitimist (n.) Look up legitimist at Dictionary.com
1841, from French légitimiste, from légitime (see legitimate).
legitimize (v.) Look up legitimize at Dictionary.com
1795, from Latin legitimus (see legitimate) + -ize. Earlier was legitimatize (1791). Related: Legitimized; legitimizing.
legless (adj.) Look up legless at Dictionary.com
1590s, from leg (n.) + -less. Related: Leglessly; leglessness.
Lego Look up Lego at Dictionary.com
1954, proprietary name (in use since 1934, according to the company), from Danish phrase leg godt "play well." The founder, Ole Kirk Christiansen, didn't realize until later that the word meant "I study" or "I put together" in Latin.
legume (n.) Look up legume at Dictionary.com
plant of the group of the pulse family, 1670s, from French légume (16c.), from Latin legumen "pulse, leguminous plant," of unknown origin. One suggestion ties it to Latin legere "to gather" (see lecture (n.)), because they can be scooped by the handful. Used in Middle English in the Latin form legumen (late 14c.).
leguminous (adj.) Look up leguminous at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Latin legumen (see legume) + -ous.
lei (n.) Look up lei at Dictionary.com
1843, from Hawaiian, "ornament worn about the neck or head."
Leica Look up Leica at Dictionary.com
1925, proprietary name of cameras made by firm of Ernst & Leitz Gesellschaft, Wetzlar, Germany.
Leicester Look up Leicester at Dictionary.com
Ligera ceaster (early 10c.) "Roman Town of the People Called Ligore," a tribal name, of unknown origin. For second element, see Chester.
Leila Look up Leila at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Arabic Laylah, literally "dark as night," from laylah "night."
leio- Look up leio- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "smooth," from Greek leio-, comb. form of leios "smooth." E.g. leiotrichy "condition of having straight, lank hair" (1924).
leisure (n.) Look up leisure at Dictionary.com
early 14c., leisir, "opportunity to do something" (as in phrase at (one's) leisure), also "time at one's disposal," from Old French leisir (Modern French loisir) "capacity; permission; leisure, spare time; free will; idleness, inactivity," noun use of infinitive leisir "be permitted," from Latin licere "be permitted" (see licence). The -u- appeared 16c., probably on analogy of words like pleasure. Phrase leisured class attested by 1836.
leisurely (adj.) Look up leisurely at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from leisure (n.) + -ly (1). As an adverb, with -ly (2), from late 15c. Related: Leisureliness.
leitmotif (n.) Look up leitmotif at Dictionary.com
1876, "a musical figure to which some definite meaning is attached," from German Leitmotiv, literally "lead motive," from leiten "to lead" (see lead (v.1)) + Motiv (see motive). A term associated with Wagnerian musical drama, though the thing itself is at least as old as Mozart. "The leitmotif must be characteristic of the person or thing it is intended to represent." ["Elson's Music Dictionary"]
lek (v.) Look up lek at Dictionary.com
to engage in courtship displays of certain animals, 1871, probably from Swedish leka "to play," cognate of English dialectal verb lake (see lark (v.)).
LEM (n.) Look up LEM at Dictionary.com
acronym (initialism) for lunar excursion module, 1963, from the U.S. space program.
leman (n.) Look up leman at Dictionary.com
"sweetheart, paramour" (archaic), late 13c., from Middle English leofman (c. 1200), from Old English leof "dear" (see lief) + man "human being, person" (see man (n.)). Originally of either gender, though deliberate archaic usage tends to limit it to women.