Attested (in Middle English, as legioun) around 1200, from Old French legion, from Latin legiō, legionem, from legō (“to gather, collect”); akin to legend, lecture.
Generalized sense of “a large number” is due to an allusive phrase in Mark 5:9, "my name is Legion: for we are many" (KJV).
legion (not comparable)
- Numerous; vast; very great in number
- Synonyms: multitudinous, numerous
- Russia’s labor and capital resources are woefully inadequate to overcome the state’s needs and vulnerabilities, which are legion.
- dissatisfied customers and their legion complaints
- 2008, BioWare, Mass Effect (Science Fiction), Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →ISBN, →OCLC, PC, scene: Saren's private lab, Virmire:
- Shepard: Where are the rest of the Reapers? Are you the last of your kind?
We are legion. The time of our return is coming. Our numbers will darken the sky of every world. You cannot escape your doom.
legion (plural legions)
- (military, Ancient Rome) The major unit or division of the Roman army, usually comprising 3000 to 6000 infantry soldiers and 100 to 200 cavalry troops.
- (military) A combined arms major military unit featuring cavalry, infantry, and artillery, including historical units such as the British Legion, and present-day units such as the Spanish Legion and the French Foreign Legion.
- Coordinate terms: combat team, regimental combat team, brigade combat team
- (military) A large military or semi-military unit trained for combat; any military force; an army, regiment; an armed, organized and assembled militia.
- (often Legion or the Legion) A national organization or association of former servicemen, such as the American Legion.
- A large number of people; a multitude.
- (often plural) A great number.
- 1735, John Rogers (Canon of Wells.), “Sermon XV. Universal Obedience to the Laws of God, the indispensable Obligation of Christians”, in Nineteen Sermons on several occasions:
- where one Sin has entered, Legions will force their Way through the fame Breach.
- (dated, taxonomy) A group of orders inferior to a class; in scientific classification, a term occasionally used to express an assemblage of objects intermediate between an order and a class.
- (military unit): fireteam, section, troop, squad, platoon, company, battalion, regiment, brigade, division, corps, wing, army, army group
legion (third-person singular simple present legions, present participle legioning, simple past and past participle legioned)
- (transitive) To form into legions.
- c. 1601–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or What You Will”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene iv], page 268, column 1:
- If all / the diuells of hell be drawne in little, and Legion himſelfe / poſſeſt him, yet He ſpeake to him.
- c. 1606 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Macbeth”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene iii], page 146:
- MACDUFF. Not in the Legions / Of horrid Hell, can come a Diuell more damn'd / In euils to top Macbeth.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, Mark 5:9:
- And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, Matthew 26:53:
- Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
- 1708, John Philips, Cyder, book II, London: J. Tonson, page 80:
- Now we exult, by mighty ANNA's Care / Secure at home, while She to foreign Realms / Sends forth her dreadful Legions, and restrains / The Rage of Kings
- 1742, [Edward Young], The Complaint: Or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality, London: […] [Samuel Richardson] for A[ndrew] Millar […], and R[obert] Dodsley […], published 1750, →OCLC:
- What can preserve my life, or what destroy ? / An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave; / Legions of angels can't confine me there.
- 1821, Lord Byron, “(please specify the page)”, in Sardanapalus, a Tragedy; The Two Foscari, a Tragedy; Cain, a Mystery, London: John Murray, […], →OCLC:
- SAR. I fear it not; but I have felt—have seen— / A legion of the dead.
- Roman legion on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- legion (taxonomy) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- legion (demons) on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
legion c (singular definite legionen, plural indefinite legioner)
- accusative singular of legio
(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)
legion f (plural legions)
- French: légion
legion m (definite singular legionen, indefinite plural legioner, definite plural legionene)
- “legion” in The Bokmål Dictionary.
legion m (definite singular legionen, indefinite plural legionar, definite plural legionane)
- “legion” in The Nynorsk Dictionary.
Borrowed from Latin legiō, legiōnis.
legion m inan
|Declension of legion|
- legion in Svenska Akademiens ordlista (SAOL)
- legion in Svensk ordbok (SO)
- legion in Svenska Akademiens ordbok (SAOB)