See also: leg man



From leg +‎ -man, modelled after legwork,[1] in reference to the walking such a person does.



legman (plural legmen)

  1. (originally US) A person hired to carry out errands or (often) menial tasks, frequently requiring travel from place to place; an errand boy or errand girl, a runner.
    Synonym: gofer
    Antonym: leg woman
    • 1953 May, Dwight Boyer, “Giant Jaws Unload Ore Ship”, in H[enry] H[aven] Windsor, Jr., editor, Popular Mechanics, volume 99, number 5, Chicago, Ill.: Popular Mechanics Company, ISSN 0032-4558, OCLC 506031407, page 76:
      During the nine-month Great Lakes shipping season, the ore hogs—shovelers, "larry" car weighers, bulldozer operators, car pushers and "leg" men—unite in this miracle of supply that stock-piles enough iron ore to last through the winter. The leg man on a Hulett iron-ore unloader must possess a special blend of brawn, brains and a "go for broke" attitude. He must also be conscious of the safety of fellow workers below him as he deftly maneuvers a 75-ton vertical ramrod and iron-jawed grab bucket.
    • 1958, Harry Stephen Keeler; Hazel Goodwin Keeler, “The Affair of the Two Other Men”, in The Case of the Two-headed Idiot: A Double-mystery Novel, 2nd edition, [United States]: Ramble House, published 2005, →ISBN, page 215:
      [W]ell, anyway, he sent a chap who acts as his confidential ‘leg-man’ and ‘Man Friday’.
    • 1974, John le Carré [pseudonym; David John Moore Cornwell], chapter 21, in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, London: Hodder and Stoughton, →ISBN; trade paperback edition, New York, N.Y.: Pocket Books, October 2002, →ISBN, page 181:
      Guillam was boss and legman, and twice a day he dropped the tapes on the Berne residency, using a parked car as a letter-box.
    • 1992 August, “Analysis”, in Selected Occupational Fatalities Related to Marine Cargo Handling as Found in Reports of OSHA Fatality/Catastrophe Investigations, [Washington, D.C.]: Office of Statistics, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, OCLC 27132302, page 39:
      A large ship was discharging LASH (lighter aboard ship) barges at its aft end. [...] The crane broke down and a repairman was called. One legman descended from his post on a small raised platform to the deck next to the crane. Once repaired, the crane operator sounded a warning siren. Thinking all was clear, he started the crane toward the aft. The legman next to the crane ran aft and attempted to climb a small ladder next to his post. He was caught between the ladder and the crane, suffering multiple injuries.
    • 1998, Andrew J. Fenady, “[Biography of Andrew J. Fenady]”, in Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus: A Play in Two Acts: [], Woodstock, Ill.; London: Dramatic Publishing Company, →ISBN:
      Once in Hollywood he [Andrew J. Fenady] became a legman for Paul Coates, which led to writing and producing Coates' controversial television series, Confidential File, winner of three Emmy awards.
    • 1999, Ronald Steel, “Prologue: The Name that Opened Every Door”, in Walter Lippmann and the American Century, new edition, New Brunswick, N.J.; London: Transaction Publishers, published 2008 (3rd printing), →ISBN, page xv:
      He [Walter Lippmann] studied at Harvard with [George] Santayana, took tea with William James, worked as a legman for Lincoln Steffens, debated socialism with [George] Bernard Shaw and H[erbert] G[eorge] Wells, was in Belgium when the Germans invaded and at the House of Commons when Britain declared war in 1914.
    • 2015, Howard M[orley] Sachar, “Preface”, in The Assassination of Europe, 1918–1942: A Political History, Toronto, Ont.: University of Toronto Press, →ISBN, page xii:
      Their targets included kings and commoners, civilians and soldiers, military recruits and senior commanders, political legmen and party chairmen, businessmen and academicians, journalists and belletrists—and ultimately a train of victims' families: husbands, wives, and children.
  2. (originally US, journalism) A reporter who frequently travels to conduct research, interview witnesses, etc., and then conveys the information to a rewriteman who writes up the story.
    Antonym: leg woman
    • 1913, Irvin S[hrewsbury] Cobb, The Saturday Evening Post, volume 185, Philadelphia, Pa.; London: Curtis Publishing Company, ISSN 0048-9239, OCLC 613316682, page 23; republished in “The Third Stick”, in Stickfuls: (Myself—To Date) (The Works of Irvin S. Cobb), New York, N.Y.: The Review of Reviews Corporation publishers; published by arrangement with George H[enry] Doran Company, 1923, OCLC 14143060, part 1 (Getting Set in New York: In Three Takes), pages 136 and 140:
      [page 136] This was my abrupt introduction to the system by which most of the live news is handled for the New York evening newspapers [...] Its continued use has bred up two distinct and separate types of news-specialists—the leg man, who gets the story, but rarely writes it; and the rewrite man, who writes the story but rarely gets it. [...] [page 140] City editors rail against these news combines, but it was the instinct of self-preservation that long ago drove the leg men into tight and fast organizations.
    • 1949, John Macdonald [pseudonym; Kenneth Millar], chapter 5, in The Moving Target, New York, N.Y.: Alfred A. Knopf, OCLC 2023344; republished as Ross Macdonald, The Moving Target (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard), New York, N.Y.: Vintage Books, March 1998, →ISBN, page 32:
      Morris Cramm was night legman for a columnist and worked from seven in the evening to five in the morning.
    • 1951, Mickey Spillane, chapter 5, in The Big Kill (Guilt Edged Mystery), New York, N.Y.: E[dward] P[ayson] Dutton, OCLC 3673558; republished as The Big Kill (Mike Hammer series; 5), London: The Murder Room, 2015, →ISBN:
      The guy looked and acted like a cheap hood when he was the head legman for one of the biggest of the syndicated columnists.
    • 1954, Edmond D[avid] Coblentz, “Introduction: The Drift toward Specialization”, in Edmond D. Coblentz, editor, Newsmen Speak: Journalists on Their Craft, Berkeley; Los Angeles, Calif.; London: University of California Press, OCLC 794016086, page 125:
      Many of the changes which have taken place in the newspaper field within the last fifty years have been in the direction of specialization. At the turn of the century, for example, a reporter got his stories, wrote them, and sometimes even made up his own headlines. Legmen and rewrite men were practically unknown.
    • 1973, “Newspaper and Wire Service Operations”, in Journalist 3 & 2: Naval Training Command Rate Training Manual (NAVTRA 10294-C), Washington, D.C.: Published by Naval Training Command; United States Government Printing Office, OCLC 2356591, page 153, column 2:
      LEG MEN cover local events and phone the information to a rewrite man. The leg man must have a good nose for news and the ability to give information over the phone quickly and accurately. He seldom writes his own stories.
    • a. 1986, Theodore Sturgeon, “His Good Angel”, in Paul Williams, editor, The Ultimate Egoist, volume I (The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon), Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, published 1994, →ISBN, page 107:
      They all said, "What can you expect when you put a leg-man into a spot like that?" and "How can a youngster like that, with only a year's experience in the newspaper business behind him, handle that sort of an assignment?" [...]
    • 2008, Louis M. Lyons, “Leg Men”, in M. A. Lyons, editor, A Pause to Copy: Memoirs of Louis M. Lyons, Journalist, volume IV, [Bloomington, Ind.]: Xlibris, →ISBN, page 91:
      Of course newspapers have to have "leg men," especially for afternoon editions, who seldom write their own stories but have to telephone in facts to be hurried into type for press time. But leg men nowadays are expected to be literate, though sometimes barely.
    • 2009, James T. Fisher, “Epilogue: Souls of the (Port) Apostolate”, in On the Irish Waterfront: The Crusader, the Movie, and the Soul of the Port of New York (Cushwa Center Studies of Catholicism in Twentieth-century America), Ithaca, N.Y.; London: Cornell University Press, →ISBN, page 299:
      [Allen] Raymond was the son of a Methodist lay preacher who traded his Ivy League, New England pedigree for a hardboiled journalistic persona cultivated over decades as a "legman," rewrite man, copyeditor, and reporter for a dozen urban newspapers, mostly in metropolitan New York.

Alternative formsEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ legman, n.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2016; “legman, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

Further readingEdit