UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations/ˈlaɪtli/US:USA pronunciation: respellingUSA pronunciation: respelling(lītlē)

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
light•ly  (lītlē),USA pronunciation adv. 
  1. with little weight, force, intensity, etc.;
    gently:to press lightly on a door bell.
  2. to only a small amount or degree;
    slightly:lightly fried eggs.
  3. nimbly;
    quickly:to leap lightly aside.
  4. with a lack of concern;
    slightly:to think lightly of one's achievements.
  5. cheerfully;
    without complaining:to take bad news lightly.
  6. without due consideration or reason (often used negatively):an offer not to be refused lightly.
  7. easily;
    without trouble or effort:Lightly come, lightly go.
  8. frivolously;
    flippantly:to behave lightly.
  9. airily;
    buoyantly:flags floating lightly.
  • Middle English lightli, Old English lēohtlīce. See light2, -ly bef. 900

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
light1 /laɪt/USA pronunciation   n., adj.,  light•er, light•est, v.,  light•ed or lit/lɪt/USA pronunciation  light•ing. 
  1. the brightness that makes things visible, made up of a form of radiation to which the eyes react:[uncountable]The sun gives off light.
  2. [countable] something giving off such brightness, as the sun or a lamp.
  3. the brightness from the sun;
    daylight, daybreak, dawn, or daytime:[uncountable]at first light (= at dawn).
  4. [countable] a device for or means of starting a fire, as a spark, flame, or match.
  5. a traffic light:[countable]went through a red light.
  6. the way in which a thing appears or is looked at:[countable;  usually singular]He saw things in a new light.
  7. a gleam or sparkle:[countable]a fierce light in her eyes.
  8. insight;
    awareness:[uncountable]These new facts throw some light on the mystery.
  9. a person who is an important figure:[countable]one of the leading lights of the Broadway stage.
  10. lights, [plural] the information, ideas, background, or mental ability one has:According to his lights, he acted correctly.

  1. having light;
    well-lighted:The room was light enough to read in.
  2. pale;
    not deep in color:a light blue.
  3. (of coffee or tea) containing enough milk or cream to produce a light color.

  1. to (cause to) burn: [+ object]They lit the fire.[~ (+ up) + object]She lit (up) a cigarette.[~ (+ up)]These wet logs won't light (up). She took the cigarette and lit up.
  2. to (cause to) become bright when switched on: [no object]This table lamp won't light.[+ object]to light the lamp.
  3. to (cause to) be brightened, esp. with joy, excitement, or the like: [~ (+ up) + object]A smile lit (up) her face.[no object]Her face lit up with the good news.
  4. to (cause to) become bright: [no object;  (+ up) ]The sky lights up at sunrise.[~ (+ up) + object]to light up a room.[+ up + object]The car's headlights lit up the area ahead.
  1. Idiomsbring to light, to discover or reveal: [+ object]The investigation brought to light new facts about the case.[+ object + to light]The investigation brought new facts to light.
  2. Idiomscome to light, to be discovered or revealed:New facts came to light.
  3. Idiomsin (the) light of, taking into account;
    because of;
    considering:In the light of these new charges, perhaps we'd better re-open the investigation.
  4. Idiomslight at the end of the tunnel, a possibility of success, relief, or of being saved that is not yet present but that will come about:We still have problems, but at least we can see some light at the end of the tunnel.
  5. Idiomssee the light: 
    • to understand something at last.

light•ness, n. [uncountable]

light2 /laɪt/USA pronunciation   adj. and adv.,  -er, -est. 
  1. of little weight;
    not heavy:a light load.
  2. of low specific gravity:a light metal.
  3. of less than the usual or average weight:Wear light clothing in the summer to stay cool.
  4. of small amount, force, intensity, pressure, etc.:a light rain.
  5. easy to endure, deal with, or perform:light duties.
  6. not very serious;
    entertaining:Mystery stories make light reading.
  7. trivial:The loss of a job is no light matter.
  8. easily digested;
    not rich or heavy:a light meal.
  9. Wine(of alcoholic beverages)
    • not heavy or strong:a light apéritif.
    • (esp. of beer and wine) having fewer calories and usually a lower alcohol content than the standard product.
  10. airy in movement;
    agile:light on one's feet.
  11. cheerful;
    carefree:a light heart.
  12. dizzy or somewhat faint:I felt light in the head.
  13. Military(of soldiers) lightly armed or equipped:light cavalry.
  14. made to carry small loads swiftly:a light truck.
  15. using small-scale machinery for the production of consumer goods:light industry.

  1. without much or extra baggage:He prefers to travel light, with just a backpack.
light•ly, adv. 
light•ness, n. 

light3 /laɪt/USA pronunciation   v. [no object], light•ed or lit/lɪt/USA pronunciation  light•ing. 
  1. to come down to rest;
    fall or settle (upon):[+ on/upon]The bird lighted on the branch.
  2. to come by chance;
    hit:[+ on/upon]to light on a clue.
  3. light into, [+ into + object] to attack physically or verbally:He lit into the next speaker with criticism.
  4. light out, [no object][Informal.]to depart quickly:He lit out for the coast.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
light1  (līt),USA pronunciation n., adj.,  -er,  -est, v.,  light•ed  or lit, light•ing. 
  1. something that makes things visible or affords illumination:All colors depend on light.
  2. Physics
    • PhysicsAlso called  luminous energy, radiant energy. electromagnetic radiation to which the organs of sight react, ranging in wavelength from about 400 to 700 nm and propagated at a speed of 186,282 mi./sec (299,972 km/sec), considered variously as a wave, corpuscular, or quantum phenomenon.
    • a similar form of radiant energy that does not affect the retina, as ultraviolet or infrared rays.
  3. the sensation produced by stimulation of the organs of sight.
  4. an illuminating agent or source, as the sun, a lamp, or a beacon.
  5. the radiance or illumination from a particular source:the light of a candle.
  6. the illumination from the sun;
    daylight:We awoke at the first light.
  7. daybreak or dawn:when light appeared in the east.
  8. daytime:Summer has more hours of light.
  9. a particular light or illumination in which an object seen takes on a certain appearance:viewing the portrait in dim light.
  10. a device for or means of igniting, as a spark, flame, or match:Could you give me a light?
  11. a traffic light:Don't cross till the light changes.
  12. the aspect in which a thing appears or is regarded:Try to look at the situation in a more cheerful light.
  13. the state of being visible, exposed to view, or revealed to public notice or knowledge;
    limelight:Stardom has placed her in the light.
  14. a person who is an outstanding leader, celebrity, or example;
    luminary:He became one of the leading lights of Restoration drama.
  15. Fine Art[Art.]
    • the effect of light falling on an object or scene as represented in a picture.
    • one of the brightest parts of a picture.
  16. a gleam or sparkle, as in the eyes.
  17. a measure or supply of light;
    illumination:The wall cuts off our light.
  18. spiritual illumination or awareness;
  19. Architecture
    • ArchitectureAlso called  day. one compartment of a window or window sash.
    • Architecturea window, esp. a small one.
  20. mental insight;
  21. lights, the information, ideas, or mental capacities possessed:to act according to one's lights.
  22. Nautical, Naval Termsa lighthouse.
  23. [Archaic.]the eyesight.
  24. Idiomsbring to light, to discover or reveal:The excavations brought to light the remnants of an ancient civilization.
  25. Idiomscome to light, to be discovered or revealed:Some previously undiscovered letters have lately come to light.
  26. Idiomshide one's light under a bushel, to conceal or suppress one's talents or successes.
  27. Idiomsin a good (or  bad ) light, under favorable (or unfavorable) circumstances:She worshiped him, but then she'd only seen him in a good light.
  28. Idiomsin (the) light of, taking into account;
    because of;
    considering:It was necessary to review the decision in the light of recent developments.
  29. Idiomslight at the end of the tunnel, a prospect of success, relief, or redemption:We haven't solved the problem yet, but we're beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.
  30. Idiomssee the light: 
    • to come into existence or being.
    • to be made public.
    • to begin to accept or understand a point of view one formerly opposed:Her father was opposed to her attending an out-of-town college, but he finally saw the light.
  31. Idiomsshed or  throw light on, to clarify;
    clear up:His deathbed confession threw light on a mystery of long standing.

  1. having light or illumination;
    well-lighted:the lightest room in the entire house.
  2. pale, whitish, or not deep or dark in color:a light blue.
  3. (of coffee or tea) containing enough milk or cream to produce a light color.

  1. to set burning, as a candle, lamp, fire, match, or cigarette;
  2. to turn or switch on (an electric light):One flick of the master switch lights all the lamps in the room.
  3. to give light to;
    furnish with light or illumination:The room is lighted by two large chandeliers.
  4. to make (an area or object) bright with or as if with light (often fol. by up):Hundreds of candles lighted up the ballroom.
  5. to cause (the face, surroundings, etc.) to brighten, esp. with joy, animation, or the like (often fol. by up):A smile lit up her face. Her presence lighted up the room.
  6. to guide or conduct with a light:a candle to light you to bed.

  1. to take fire or become kindled:The damp wood refused to light.
  2. to ignite a cigar, cigarette, or pipe for purposes of smoking (usually fol. by up):He took out a pipe and lighted up before speaking.
  3. to become illuminated when switched on:This table lamp won't light.
  4. to become bright, as with light or color (often fol. by up):The sky lights up at sunset.
  5. to brighten with animation or joy, as the face or eyes (often fol. by up).
lightful, adj. 
lightful•ly, adv. 
  • bef. 900; (noun, nominal and adjective, adjectival) Middle English; Old English lēoht; cognate with Old Saxon lioht, Old Frisian liacht, Dutch, German licht, Gothic liuhath (noun, nominal); akin to Old Norse ljōs (noun, nominal), ljōss (adjective, adjectival), Latin lūx (noun, nominal), Greek leukós bright, white; (verb, verbal) Middle English lighten, Old English līhtan, cognate with Old Saxon liuhtian, Old High German liuhten (German leuchten), Gothic liuhtjan

light2  (līt),USA pronunciation adj.,  -er,  -est, adv.,  -er,  -est, n. 
  1. of little weight;
    not heavy:a light load.
  2. of little weight in proportion to bulk;
    of low specific gravity:a light metal.
  3. of less than the usual or average weight:light clothing.
  4. weighing less than the proper or standard amount:to be caught using light weights in trade.
  5. of small amount, force, intensity, etc.:light trading on the stock market;a light rain;light sleep.
  6. using or applying little or slight pressure or force:The child petted the puppy with light, gentle strokes.
  7. not distinct;
    faint:The writing on the page had become light and hard to read.
  8. easy to endure, deal with, or perform;
    not difficult or burdensome:light duties.
  9. not very profound or serious;
    amusing or entertaining:light reading.
  10. of little importance or consequence;
    trivial:The loss of his job was no light matter.
  11. easily digested:light food.
  12. low in any substance, as sugar, starch, or tars, that is considered harmful or undesirable:light cigarettes.
  13. Wine(of alcoholic beverages)
    • not heavy or strong:a light apéritif.
    • (esp. of beer and wine) having fewer calories and usually a lower alcohol content than the standard product.
  14. spongy or well-leavened, as cake.
  15. (of soil) containing much sand;
    porous or crumbly.
  16. slender or delicate in form or appearance:a light, graceful figure.
  17. airy or buoyant in movement:When she dances, she's as light as a feather.
  18. nimble or agile:light on one's feet.
  19. free from trouble, sorrow, or worry;
    carefree:a light heart.
  20. cheerful;
    gay:a light laugh.
  21. characterized by lack of proper seriousness;
    frivolous:light conduct.
  22. sexually promiscuous;
  23. easily swayed;
    volatile:a heart light of love; His is a life of a man light of purpose.
  24. dizzy;
    slightly delirious:I get light on one martini.
  25. [Mil.]lightly armed or equipped:light cavalry.
  26. having little or no cargo, encumbrance, or the like;
    not burdened:a light freighter drawing little water.
  27. adapted by small weight or slight build for small loads or swift movement:The grocer bought a light truck for deliveries.
  28. using small-scale machinery primarily for the production of consumer goods:light industry.
  29. [Naut.]noting any sail of light canvas set only in moderate or calm weather, as a royal, skysail, studdingsail, gaff topsail, or spinnaker.
  30. [Meteorol.](of wind) having a speed up to 7 mph (3 m/sec). Cf. light air, light breeze.
  31. [Phonet.](of l- sounds) resembling a front vowel in quality;
    clear:Frenchl is lighter than English l.
  32. Poetry[Pros.](of a syllable)
    • unstressed.
    • short.
  33. [Poker.]being in debt to the pot:He's a dollar light.
  34. make light of, to treat as unimportant or trivial:They made light of our hard-won victory.

  1. lightly:to travel light.
  2. with no load or cargo hauled or carried:a locomotive running light to its roundhouse.

  1. a light product, as a beer or cigarette.
  • bef. 900; Middle English; Old English lēoht, līht; cognate with Old Frisian li(u)cht, Old Saxon -līht, Dutch licht, German leicht, Old Norse lēttr, Gothic leihts
    • 7.See corresponding entry in Unabridged indistinct;
    • 10.See corresponding entry in Unabridged trifling, inconsiderable.
    • 19.See corresponding entry in Unabridged cheery, happy.
    • 21.See corresponding entry in Unabridged flighty.
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged heavy.

light3  (līt),USA pronunciation v.i.,  light•ed  or lit, light•ing. 
  1. to get down or descend, as from a horse or a vehicle.
  2. to come to rest, as on a spot or thing;
    fall or settle upon;
    land:The bird lighted on the branch. My eye lighted on some friends in the crowd.
  3. to come by chance;
    hit (usually fol. by on or upon):to light on a clue; to light on an ideal picnic spot.
  4. to fall, as a stroke, weapon, vengeance, or choice, on a place or person:The choice lighted upon our candidate.
  5. light into, [Informal.]to make a vigorous physical or verbal attack on:He would light into anyone with the slightest provocation.
  6. light out, [Slang.]to leave quickly;
    depart hurriedly:He lit out of here as fast as his legs would carry him.
  • bef. 900; Middle English lihten, Old English līhtan to make light, relieve of a weight; see light2

'lightly' also found in these entries:

Report an inappropriate ad.