36

Is legit an actual word, or is it a slang word that has been shortened from legitimate?

17
  • 8
    It depends on what you mean by "actual word." I would consider it slang and avoid it in business or formal communications, but you may find it in some dictionaries.
    – choster
    Feb 26 '14 at 16:45
  • 5
    2Legit2Quit - MC Hammer
    – Keltari
    Feb 26 '14 at 22:07
  • 55
    I was hoping for the title Is "legit" legit?.
    – Drew
    Feb 26 '14 at 22:15
  • 8
    it's straight up legit.
    – user31341
    Feb 26 '14 at 22:35
  • 3
    Using "legit" improves your street credibility. Feb 28 '14 at 0:11
64

A string of letters doesn’t have to be in a dictionary to be a word, but, as it happens, there is an entry for legit in the Oxford English Dictionary, where it is given as both an adjective and a noun and defined as being a colloquial abbreviation of legitimate. The earliest citation is from 1897.

Whether and how you use it is up to you.

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  • 42
    Seems legit. :)
    – Almo
    Feb 27 '14 at 18:11
  • 1
    A noun? How so?
    – mudri
    Feb 27 '14 at 20:13
  • 4
    @James Here's the first OED example: “Bob is envious of Corbett's success as a ‘legit’.” And the second: “1897 - National Police Gaz. (U.S.) 26 May 6/1 - Bob now wants to go into the ‘legit’.” The entry also mentions the phrase “on the legit”. Feb 27 '14 at 20:32
  • That sounds like a case where an adjective was nouned.
    – Barmar
    Mar 3 '14 at 18:33
  • 1
    Probably, just like natural, final and monthly. Mar 3 '14 at 18:48
28

Is legit an actual word, or is it a slang word that has been shortened from legitimate?

Any "or" question can be broken down into two questions, so let's do that.

Is legit an actual word?

There are two common definitions for "actual"; it can mean "existing" or it can mean "genuine". So let's break that down into two questions:

Is legit an existing word?

Well, what is a word? In this case I suppose you mean that a word is the textual representation of a meaningful unit of language.

By that measure I would say that legit is a word and that moreover it exists.

Is legit a genuine word? That is, does it actually have the qualities of a textual representation of a meaningful unit of language?

I'm pretty sure it does, yes.

So by either definition it would appear that legit is an "actual word".

Now to come to your second question:

Is legit a slang word that has been shortened from legitimate?

Yes.

So the answer to both halves of your "or" question is "yes".

Summing up: Seems legit.

11

In almost any context, people would understand what you meant by "legit", but it's not completely cromulent.

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  • 5
    'Legit' is one thing; but what in the world does 'cromulent' mean? Oxford Dictionaries have never heard of it!
    – WS2
    Feb 26 '14 at 16:59
  • 3
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – tobyink
    Feb 26 '14 at 17:04
  • 1
    Can it be used as a noun - e.g. 'cromulence'? And how does the verb form? Is it 'cromulentify' or 'cromulesce'?
    – WS2
    Feb 26 '14 at 17:27
  • 3
    @WS2 - no, it doesn't, and neither. Have a "cromulent" day! :-) Feb 26 '14 at 17:53
  • 6
    @WS2: Oxford dictionaries notwithstanding, cromulent is a perfectly cromulent word, as used by Professors of Linguistics on a regular basis. :) Feb 26 '14 at 18:19
6

Like Barrie England is saying, it's a colloquial abbreviation of legitimate. What needs to be emphasized for non-native speakers is that "legit" is used colloquially which means that you should not use this in formal speech or writing.

The urban dictionary entry also alludes to the fact that its use is becoming more synonymous with the slang term cool.

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  • 1
    Really important point here. Do NOT use "legit" in formal prose, as it is the wrong register. Feb 27 '14 at 15:43
-1

It is undoubtedly a shortened version of the word "legitimate".

So it is as much a legitimate word as you are ready to accept language bastardization.

8
  • Your insinuation that English is not an uncultured mutt of a language is in keeping with even a cursory understanding of the tongue's history.
    – DougM
    Feb 26 '14 at 22:57
  • @DougM Sorry, it was not my intention to convey such insinuation
    – nicolas
    Feb 26 '14 at 23:50
  • There's an "edit" button if you want to change it.
    – DougM
    Feb 27 '14 at 0:17
  • @nicolas At what point did English achieve perfect crystallization? Surely some pure baseline must have been achieved at some point for us to be talking about a subsequent decline. How does any language come to be? Jul 14 '14 at 19:51

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