Legerdemain refers to skillful deception or sleight of hand, especially in magic or other performances. It can also refer to trickery or deceitful conduct.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Trickery, deception, chicanery, sleight of hand, cunning, artifice


Honesty, transparency, straightforwardness, sincerity, frankness

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun legerdemains, legerdemain
Verb None
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The magician’s legerdemain was so impressive that the audience was left in awe.

  • The politician’s legerdemain was exposed when his scandalous dealings were uncovered.

  • The salesman used legerdemain to convince the customer to buy a product that they didn’t really need.

  • The fraudster’s legerdemain was so convincing that he was able to swindle people out of their life savings.


The word legerdemain is often associated with magic and illusion, but it can also be used in a broader sense to describe any type of skillful deception or trickery. It is typically used in a negative context, to describe conduct that is dishonest, deceitful, or manipulative.

The word has its roots in French and was originally used to describe sleight of hand tricks performed by magicians. The first part of the word, “leger,” means “light” or “nimble,” while the second part, “demain,” means “hand.” Thus, legerdemain originally referred to the quick and skillful movements of a magician’s hands as they performed illusions.

Over time, the word has come to be used more broadly to describe any type of deception or trickery, not just those performed by magicians. It can refer to dishonest business practices, political maneuvering, or any other type of conduct that involves skillful manipulation or deceit.

The word can also be used in compound words, such as “legerdemainist,” which refers to a practitioner of legerdemain, or “legerdemainic,” which describes something that is related to or characterized by legerdemain. Additionally, the word can be broken down into its components to form new words, such as “legerity,” which refers to lightness and nimbleness of movement, and “dexterity,” which refers to skill or proficiency in a particular activity.