- 1(Of a bird) descend from the air and settle: a lovely blue swallow alighted on a branchMore example sentences
- Like birds alighting for a while on a newly seeded lawn, they will peck away at all the possibilities until they have exhausted this area and then move on to another form.
- On another occasion, an origami bird alights by letters in a banner hanging on a wall.
- A big, majestic study for this sculpture, in pastel, charcoal and acrylic on brown paper, finds two shadowy birds alighting, and a ghostly doubled head, its mouth stretched painfully wide.
- 1.1Descend from a train, bus, or other form of transportation: the conductor alights to push the cable car completely aroundMore example sentences
- Passengers alighting from trains at the city railway station have no easy access to the two bus stations; the subway is of little help and has been vandalised.
- Police - using a drug-detecting sniffer dog - swooped on suspect passengers boarding and alighting from trains.
- From the overbridge the pair warned passengers alighting from the train to avoid the Leeds fans by going a different way.
- Find by chance; notice: her eyes alighted on the item in questionMore example sentences
- His gaze alighted on the journalist Eleanor Mills, by chance the stepdaughter of a Cabinet minister.
- He briefly alights on the historical context of Mongolian expansionism.
- His hand alights on the Virgin Mother in her blue robe; his thumb presses feverishly over the contours of her face and form, then freezes as recognition of some kind descends.
Old English ālīhtan, from ā- (as an intensifier) + līhtan 'descend' (see light3).
adverb & adjective
- 1On fire; burning: [as adjective]: the house was well alight when the firemen arrived [as adverb]: flammable liquid was set alightMore example sentences
- A sub-standard home is scheduled to be set alight by fire crews, then demolished by a digger.
- Mr Swales said they were also concerned about surrounding businesses as the blaze started to spread and set alight a fourth floor fire escape door on an adjoining building.
- There are always little fires being set alight every day.
- 1.1Shining brightly: [as adjective]: a single lamp was alight • figurative the boy’s face was alight with excitementMore example sentences
- Her eyes widened with fright and awe; they were alight with a bright white flame, as was every other place on her body she could see.
- Kathryn nodded; her bright blue eyes alight with excitement.
- As I slept, the moon outside shone brightly, and the black sky was alight with stars blinking down over my little neighborhood in suburban New York.
late Middle English: probably from the phrase on a light (= lighted) fire.