Definition of leg in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘Some apes started walking on hind legs, employing their forelimbs as hands for holding and shaping tools.’
    • ‘She suffered a broken leg and facial injuries, but has made a remarkable recovery that her father says stunned her doctors.’
    • ‘Mr Horne said Ellie had suffered a broken leg, facial injuries and a fractured cheekbone.’
    • ‘He stood with legs slightly apart, hands on his hips in a classic pose.’
    • ‘She patted my leg, then stood and walked off into the gloom.’
    • ‘I was feeling so unnerved, and uncomfortable by now, the small hairs on my arms and legs stood on end.’
    • ‘This dinosaur grew to about four meters long and a little over a meter tall, walking on all four legs.’
    • ‘The greatest difference was that it was now stood on two legs instead of four, which only served to increase the swaying.’
    • ‘A buzzard has strong, thick, feathered legs and walks with a dignified gait.’
    • ‘Moving makes your legs feel better, but not for long.’
    • ‘Bowing of the legs in a toddler is not uncommon and may sometimes cause the child to trip.’
    • ‘Parents of children who have bowed legs often want to know if the child's legs are abnormal.’
    • ‘They all stood with their legs together and their hands on their hips.’
    • ‘They walk on two legs instead of four, and seem to be much like people.’
    • ‘The bigger muscles in the arms and legs stiffen between four and six hours after death.’
    • ‘The creature stood on all four legs now and with hazel eyes fixated them.’
    • ‘Lee, 29, was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary after he suffered multiple injuries to his legs and arms.’
    • ‘The first episode looked at one of earliest apes to walk on two legs, a small animal called Australopithecus afarensis.’
    • ‘The beast stood on two legs, but walked hunched over, with its front claws just inches off the ground.’
    • ‘Seamus was standing, legs spread and arms akimbo and he was laughing.’
    lower limb, shank
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    1. 1.1 A leg of an animal or bird as food.
      ‘a roast leg of lamb’
      • ‘He chomps on his chicken leg and sauce goes flying everywhere, along with bits of chicken skin and spittle.’
      • ‘She also did advanced medical training, practising stitches on raw chicken legs lest she be called upon to perform an emergency operation on board.’
      • ‘Roast chicken legs in a slow oven until the flesh falls off the bone when pressed.’
      • ‘Other suspects are roast beef, ham, salami sticks, chicken legs and unpasteurised milk.’
      • ‘Grabbing a chicken leg in each hand, plunk the bird cavity over the beer can.’
      • ‘It's a little sweet, but that makes it great with a big old-fashioned glazed country ham or a barbecued leg of lamb.’
      • ‘Blue pulled half-heartedly at the meat she held in her hand, the cooked leg of some unfortunate bird.’
      • ‘Next time you roast chicken or a leg of lamb, tuck some pumpkin chunks into the roasting dish.’
      • ‘On this occasion she ordered the roast leg of lamb with mint sauce.’
      • ‘And like before there are still wooden tables, wooden benches, and stacks and stacks of pork chops and chicken legs.’
      • ‘He ripped a chicken leg off the bird and chewed happily, a bit of grease dripping down his chin.’
      • ‘My colleague Noel was keener on the more traditional choice of roast leg of lamb.’
      • ‘Eventually Russian officialdom accepted that, in terms of healthy eating, impure US chicken legs were better than no meat at all.’
      • ‘She smirked at him, then picked up a chicken leg and ate all the meat off of it in one bite.’
      • ‘The skin gets thicker and drier and then wrinkles like the crackling on a leg of pork.’
      • ‘Two legs of roast lamb on the bone had been cooked just right, with a little charring on the outside to give that attractive, barbecued taste.’
      • ‘Return the casserole to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes until the legs are tender.’
      • ‘I've opted for roe deer as the size of the haunch, similar to a leg of lamb, is a perfect size for roasting.’
      • ‘I still think there's little to beat a good roast chicken and crispy roast potatoes or a leg of lamb done the same way.’
      • ‘Wrap the legs of the bird in foil to protect from over-cooking.’
    2. 1.2 A part of a garment covering a leg or part of a leg.
      ‘his trouser leg’
      • ‘I want to buy cute summer dresses, not horrible trouser suits with tapered legs.’
      • ‘According to the police, Rich had rigged a tiny lens in his shoe laces to a video camera via a wire leading up his trouser leg.’
      • ‘I'd tucked the bottom of my trouser legs into these boots as Izzy had directed, but I think it only made them look worse.’
      • ‘Her boots were soaked as were the bottom of her trouser legs.’
      • ‘There was a good inch of exposed skin where his trouser leg stopped short.’
      • ‘I climbed down out of the tree, rolled up my trouser legs, and waded out into the water.’
      • ‘He emphasized the paratroopers' privilege of wearing their trouser legs tucked into their jump boots.’
      • ‘What is that running down the leg of your trouser?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He hoists up his trouser leg and shows you the scar.’
      • ‘I tore open his trouser leg and poured sulfa powder into the wound.’
      • ‘The boys wore bicycle clips so their trouser legs would not get caught in the chain of the bike.’
      • ‘The leg of the garment should sit on, above, or below your hip bone and not dig into the front of your thigh at a fleshy part for ease of movement.’
      • ‘Trouser legs are down to ankles and kaftans are girded with a long piece of rope.’
      • ‘Bootleg pants start off with a straight cut from the waist down to boot level, where the leg begins to flare out slightly.’
      • ‘Still, on a brighter note it is fantastic to see two shoes poking out of my trouser legs again.’
      • ‘Nazier pulled a knife from his boot, wiped it on his trouser leg, and began cutting the skin off the apple.’
      • ‘All I find is my older brother James in a tangled mess on the floor, having just tripped over his trouser legs.’
      • ‘Couldn't we get a servant in from the village to iron my share of the trouser legs?’
    3. 1.3legsinformal (with reference to a ball, especially in golf) sufficient momentum to reach the desired point.
      • ‘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.’
    4. 1.4legsinformal (with reference to a product or idea) sustained popularity or success.
      ‘some books have legs, others don't’
      • ‘With the Alberta Foundation for the Arts stepping up the whole idea grew some legs.’
      • ‘Mr Holland showed his prototype to local entrepreneur David Campbell who thought the idea had legs.’
      • ‘An idea needs legs, and no more humane way exists of evaluating an idea than seeing how it gets about.’
      • ‘But the setbacks encountered in Arizona suggest the idea may only have legs in certain states.’
  • 2Each of the supports of a chair, table, or other structure.

    ‘table legs’
    ‘the house was set on legs’
    • ‘He got up from the table, his chair legs scraping against the ground when he pushed it back.’
    • ‘They thought he was pointing a shotgun at them, but in fact the ‘gun’ was a table leg which he had recently repaired and placed in a bag.’
    • ‘I woke with a start as I hit the floor, knocking into the legs of a table.’
    • ‘The living room consists of only two things: An old couch and a coffee table with short legs.’
    • ‘Seated in the chair facing the mirror, chained to the leg of the table, was Darren Hammer.’
    • ‘One example would be the legs on the table for the exhibition.’
    • ‘The table legs are painted white and the tabletop looks like butcher block with a somewhat shiny finish.’
    • ‘Disappointed and bemused, Don demoted me to sanding square table legs with a belt sander.’
    • ‘The legs of the coffee tables are turned inside out so the bark faces inwards while the outside shows off the grain.’
    • ‘Improvised weapons such as shovels, chairs and table legs also can be used to fend off adversaries.’
    • ‘The back part formed the leg of the table to which it was attached.’
    • ‘It scorched a table and blew the legs off a chair.’
    • ‘Arrange and mark table legs and rails clockwise according to their locations on the finished product.’
    • ‘As I jumped up, I tripped over the legs of my table, and ended up on the floor.’
    • ‘At another, irritated with the furnishings, he hired a power saw and cut the legs off every table, chair, bed and bureau.’
    • ‘Some of these tables were equipped with removable legs, enabling the table to be laid flat in a box only ten inches deep.’
    • ‘A masked teenager pelted police with bricks and a table leg during the Bradford riots last year, the city's Youth Court heard yesterday.’
    • ‘A simple glass-topped table on stainless steel legs, or else an antique oak top and metal base are likely to be popular.’
    • ‘A psychopathic patient smashed a courtroom door window when he was sent to York Crown Court for attacking hospital staff with a table leg.’
    • ‘The police claim they challenged Harry, who turned in a ‘smooth fluid motion’, pointing the table leg at them.’
    upright, support, prop, brace, underpinning, column
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  • 3A section or stage of a journey or process.

    ‘the return leg of his journey’
    • ‘Last night they were forced to complete the final leg of their journey from Wales to London by train.’
    • ‘The support acts for the North American leg of the tour have been chosen.’
    • ‘I'm glad I didn't exercise my upgrade options on this outbound leg of the trip.’
    • ‘Perhaps they are now on the final leg of that journey.’
    • ‘Marcus is on the final leg of his round-the-world journey via South Africa, Australia and Los Angeles.’
    • ‘The domestic and continental legs of your journey need to be booked separately.’
    • ‘Graham finished up in Somerset this morning and set off on the next leg of his long journey, to visit his father who has been seriously ill.’
    • ‘Her poster will soon be on its way to New York where posters from around the world will be judged at the United Nations in the international leg of the competition.’
    • ‘The next leg of his journey will take him to the United States, where he has been invited to perform by the Country Music Association.’
    • ‘Finally, on the last leg of their journey, they take the old pilgrim's route across the mountains to Gaumukh, the Cow's Mouth.’
    • ‘This is used to cover the expenses incurred on the return leg of the journey.’
    • ‘As the two-stroke fumes were starting to make even the more robust feel queasy, we embarked upon the return leg of our journey.’
    • ‘However, he managed to make the final leg of his journey without any police interference.’
    • ‘We also had to visit the Mongolian Embassy to get a visa for the next leg of our journey.’
    • ‘The second leg of its journey started at 6.15 am on Sunday.’
    • ‘The final leg of the journey took us on a spectacular ride through picturesque mountains, with the motorway reaching 5,000 feet above sea level.’
    • ‘The Roadking truck stop marks the next leg of the journey as you head south on Barlow Trail though more industrial parks until coming to Glenmore Trail.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I had an interesting taxi driver for the last leg of the journey.’
    • ‘Each step of the last leg was a drudging journey, the heavy camera bearing down on the bearer's back.’
    • ‘During the return leg of their journey, they met up with traders who had believed them dead and were proceeding west nonetheless.’
    part, stage, portion, segment, section, bit, phase, stretch, lap, step, instalment
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    1. 3.1Sailing A run made on a single tack.
      ‘an important part of the upwind leg’
      • ‘A sail blows off the foredeck and a spinnaker drum jams so they can't jibe on the downwind leg.’
      • ‘Of course, it is late in the day, and the lift always seems to be the worse on the upwind legs.’
      • ‘On the downwind leg to a dan-buoy at Henholme, Pilgrim managed to get an inside turn on Liberty and rounded in second.’
      • ‘At the Australian Open in Deniliquin I was inclined to call difficult tasks with upwind legs.’
    2. 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’
      • ‘Bolton Wanderers face Aston Villa in the first leg of the competition's semi-final at the Reebok Stadium on Wednesday next week.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There's been more action in the opening five minutes of this game than in both legs of the all-Milan semi-final.’
      • ‘After such a dry season goal-wise, it was no surprise that both legs of the play-off final between Pohang and Suwon finished goalless.’
    3. 3.3 A section of a relay or other race done in stages.
      ‘one leg of its race round the globe’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The world's leading cyclists will come to Newport on 21 August for the eighth leg of the prestigious competition.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘The final leg of the race could not have been better cast.’
    4. 3.4 A single game in a darts match.
      ‘he took the first leg with 7 darts’
      • ‘All five legs were all won in terrific 13-dart legs by Thompson to set up his semi against King.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Both men handled the tension well, as legs went with the darts, Warriner always playing catch-up having thrown second.’
  • 4A branch of a forked object.

  • 5Cricket
    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
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Marcus Trescothick flicked at a ball down the leg side and an audible click sent Lee pirouetting down the pitch in delight.’
    • ‘The run-rate dropped sharply, but Richardson continued to work loose balls for runs, especially on his favourite leg side.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 6archaic A deferential gesture made by drawing back one leg and bending it while keeping the front leg straight.


  • 1leg itBritish informal Travel by foot; walk.

    ‘I am part of a team legging it around London’
    • ‘Skateboards have become a real (if technically illegal) alternative to legging it in this city.’
    • ‘He legged it back to the taxi containing his producer and production team.’
    • ‘They were around in the morning when we got up so we hurriedly struck camp and legged it up the hill to the east of the camp before we could get bitten to shreds.’
    • ‘I got soaked just getting out of the car and legging it into Tesco.’
    • ‘I promptly fell back to sleep and woke up way too late, grabbed my clothes, legged it down the road and got a bus to Earls Court station.’
    • ‘Left standing beside the van, while he went to take a call, I was suddenly aware that the cop had neglected to restrain me or actually arrest me, so after a minute of indecision I legged it in the direction of St Martin's lane.’
    • ‘I decided on the latter option and legged it, all the while controlling the other natural instinct until I reached a suitably appointed restroom facility.’
    • ‘This sounds quite interesting, as I've grown quite tired of legging it all over the campus from class to class.’
    • ‘First of all, shopping list in hand, I legged it down to the San Francisco Ferry Building to see what fresh produce I could pick up there at the Farmers Market.’
    • ‘Then I went to meet brother Dan in Blackfriars for a swift couple of Red Stripes before legging it to Kings Cross to get the train to Biggleswade.’
    • ‘‘His friends legged it down here to tell us,’ said Mr Lorne.’
    • ‘By the time you have stopped or the police have arrived, they have legged it.’
    • ‘Once they got to the other side they must have legged it towards Chippenham because they were not there when we got to the river bank and there was nobody else around.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Continuing our journey we legged it back to the capital for a relaxing sauna and then dinner by the river.’
    • ‘We legged it back home, got changed and watched TV for the rest of the night.’
    • ‘We're not quite sure how you get from arguing with your own shadow to legging it up Tottenham Court Road with a video and an antique guitar under your arm, but there you go.’
    • ‘I left work early and legged it up to north North London expecting my shiny fully-working car to be all ready and waiting for me.’
    • ‘It's a fine clear cold day, perfect for legging it around the place.’
    walk, march, tramp, trek, trudge, plod, wander, ramble, go on foot
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Run away.
      ‘he legged it after someone shouted at him’
      • ‘Then this girl got on the microphone and started playing guitar and then we realised this ‘Phil’ chap had legged it while she was singing.’
      • ‘I had three panic attacks in three days, the most severe of which involved me legging it in the middle of Keswick.’
      • ‘She legged it into a back room and they tried to force their way into the cash drawer.’
      • ‘He stood around for a few minutes then took the opportunity to leg it.’
      • ‘Looking very stunned, he pushed me out of the way and all three legged it down the road.’
      • ‘The light started to fade and I could hear the sound of booted feet legging it out of the alley.’
      • ‘I legged it up the stairs and hid on the first floor landing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Spotting £563 belonging to another customer on the counter, Maskey grabbed the cash and legged it.’
      • ‘I had to do an emergency stop on a hill, get out of the car with Astel and leg it after some crooks on foot.’
      • ‘Mr Wareing said: ‘Nearly all my customers legged it as soon as we had the power cut.’’
      • ‘I sheepishly looked round for Ray and Fred, but they had very sensibly legged it.’
      • ‘We get round the corner only to find that one demonstrator has taken tickets off windscreens and throws them at us before legging it to his mates having shown how brave he is.’
      • ‘I delicately sidestepped, wagged a finger, muttered ‘come on, none of that’ and legged it.’
      • ‘We legged it, trying to hold onto our breakfasts.’
      • ‘I make a move like I'm going to start running after him and he shrieks slightly before legging it out the door.’
      • ‘As players dived for cover, Asprilla - who was apparently genuinely surprised at the ensuing pandemonium - legged it.’
      • ‘He dodges after the fat kid, who, with surprising adroitness, double-feints and legs it back into the bar.’
      • ‘Bob uses the distraction to leg it, with a ‘rather you than me, mate’ expression on his adorable, pudgy little face.’
      • ‘Being a bit more intelligent, the officer legs it.’
      run away, run, flee, make off, make a break for it, escape, hurry, decamp
      View synonyms
  • 2historical 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’
    • ‘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.

      • ‘‘You'd better sit down, until you find your legs,’ advised Terry.’
      • ‘The man behind Madia let go quickly enough and slid sideways to join his friend, leaving Madia to find her legs again.’
      • ‘She began to feel her legs again, so she brought herself up to a stand with little effort.’
      • ‘Fighting for air, Allie found her legs and began kicking upward in the frigid water.’
      • ‘She finally finds her legs and she runs to the door that leads to her backyard, expecting to find comfort in her cocker spaniel, Pounce.’
      • ‘Nikki faltered and found her legs again as she sat down.’
      • ‘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.’
  • get one's leg over

    • vulgar slang (of a man) have sexual intercourse.

  • have the legs of

    • Be able to go faster or further than (a rival)

      ‘he should have the legs of his eight rivals here’
      • ‘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.

      • ‘We took legal advice, were told we didn't have a leg to stand on, and still the vote went in favour of asking him to reconsider.’
      • ‘But in a criminal trial, they don't have a leg to stand on, basically.’
      • ‘When the situation changed, he didn't have a leg to stand on.’
      • ‘Of course, the panel didn't have a leg to stand on.’
      • ‘Whenever I argued with Norton, I didn't have a leg to stand on.’
      • ‘Once again, I was hit with the frustration that came with knowing I didn't have a leg to stand on.’
      • ‘So the demand and supply merchants don't have a leg to stand on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At the end of the day he didn't have a leg to stand on.’
      • ‘Legally, he didn't have a leg to stand on under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause.’
  • on one's hind legs

    • dated, informal Standing up to make a speech.

      ‘he wasn't afraid to get up on his hind legs at a social gathering and talk’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘The guy looked like he was on his last legs, moving into court very slowly.’
      • ‘The Germans were supposed to be on their last legs.’
      • ‘Despite its 101 years of age, the building is in no danger of falling down, but its services are on their last legs.’
      • ‘Media observers are suggesting that reality television shows are on their last legs and will soon be making way for the next trend.’
      • ‘There wasn't much left in it - the tomatoes, the peppers and some marigolds - and most plants were on their last legs.’
      • ‘If they were ninety and on their last legs, I might understand it, but these are barely out of their teens.’
      • ‘And now that their father appears to be on his last legs, the girls are rarely off their mobiles.’
      • ‘The latest ratings have aroused claims that reality television shows are on their last legs.’
      • ‘‘These guys were on their last legs,’ Officer McGarry said.’
      • ‘But I caught a bit of his press conference today, and crikey, if that was him on his last legs, imagine how he must have been as a younger man!’
      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
      View synonyms


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