The word “legend” is of Latin origin. The verb legere means “to read, gather, or select.” Samuel Johnson’s dictionary of the English language, edited in 1802, gives, inter alia, the following definition of the word “legend”: “a chronicle of the lives of saints; any memorial or relation, an incredible unauthentick narrative.” In Samuel Linde’s six-volume dictionary of the Polish language, published in 1807, the first work of such lexicographic magnitude compiled by a Polish scholar, the word “legend” (legienda) is concisely summarized as a chronicle of the lives of saints. While modern English and Polish twenty-first-century lexicons seem to agree that a legend is a story from earlier times of people or events that may or may not be true or a story of an important person who is known for doing something extremely well, some Polish dictionaries define it in broader terms, claiming that a legend is a narrative about famous people or events that is often exaggerated.

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