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Definition sleight of hand (tricks that appear magical)


a display of skill or adroitness — especially in a deceptive way
  • She worked her legerdemain on the company ledger.
legerdemain = sleight of hand (tricks that appear magical)


a display of skill or adroitness — especially in a deceptive way
  • His door stood open to the morning, and he hummed under his breath while his right hand practiced legerdemain.
    John Steinbeck  --  The Pearl
  • legerdemain = sleight of hand (tricks that appear magical)
  • Jim Rowland pulled no surprises in his summation; he was not given to verbal legerdemain or tricks of logic.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Lords of Discipline
  • But this kind of logical legerdemain will never counteract the plain suggestions of justice and common-sense.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers
  • He already sang as nobody on this earth had ever sung before; he practised ventriloquism and gave displays of legerdemain so extraordinary that the caravans returning to Asia talked about it during the whole length of their journey.
    Gaston Leroux  --  The Phantom of the Opera
  • I had fallen into a spell of upside-down fantasy or psychic legerdemain that drunks are sometimes seized by: I saw generation after generation of golfers teeing off from Sophie and Nathan's plot, shouting "Fore!" and busying themselves with their midirons and drivers while the departed souls stirred unquietly beneath the vibrating turf.
    William Styron  --  Sophie's Choice
  • Not so the sailor, beholding the scenery of the Antarctic seas; where at times, by some infernal trick of legerdemain in the powers of frost and air, he, shivering and half shipwrecked, instead of rainbows speaking hope and solace to his misery, views what seems a boundless churchyard grinning upon him with its lean ice monuments and splintered crosses.
    Herman Melville  --  Moby Dick
  • Out of the manifold events of his life, his deeds, his feelings, his thoughts, he might make a design, regular, elaborate, complicated, or beautiful; and though it might be no more than an illusion that he had the power of selection, though it might be no more than a fantastic legerdemain in which appearances were interwoven with moonbeams, that did not matter: it seemed, and so to him it was.
    W. Somerset Maugham  --  Of Human Bondage
  • Many spectres have been raised out of this power of internal taxation, to excite the apprehensions of the people: double sets of revenue officers, a duplication of their burdens by double taxations, and the frightful forms of odious and oppressive poll-taxes, have been played off with all the ingenious dexterity of political legerdemain.
    Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay  --  The Federalist Papers

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