There are 3 main definitions of light in English:

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light 1

Line breaks: light


1 [mass noun] The natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible: the light of the sun [in singular]: the lamps in the street shed a faint light into the room
More example sentences
  • LEDs are made of semiconductor chips and emit light when a current passes through them.
  • Stockholm is beautiful in the mornings, the golden light glinting off the buildings.
  • Dark clothes don't glow because the dark pigments absorb the UV light.
ray of light, shaft of light, beam of light
daylight, light of day, natural light, sunlight;
daylight hours, daytime, day, hours of sunlight
1.1 [count noun] A source of illumination, especially an electric lamp: a light came on in his room
More example sentences
  • Everything is brightly lit once the UV lights are turned on.
  • Fluorescent lights or special grow lamps also work if left on about 14 to 16 hours per day.
  • Hang paper chains or other decorations well away from lights or any other source of heat.
lamp, torch, flashlight;
headlight, headlamp, sidelight;
standard lamp, wall light;
lantern, candle, taper, beacon
1.2 (lights) Decorative illuminations: Christmas lights
More example sentences
  • For the past couple of years, the appearance of Christmas lights and festive decorations has heralded the arrival of a weighty travel anthology.
  • Fairy lights were switched on and music played.
  • Instead of the usual studio lighting he used the available light sources visible in the shot, such as lamps, Christmas tree lights and so forth.
1.3 [count noun] (usually lights) A traffic light: turn right at the lights
More example sentences
  • Queuing traffic at the numerous lights in and around the High Street creates more congestion.
  • I don't want to drive these things wide open on the street, but we'll run them zero to 60 at the next few lights.
  • The look, of course, was no big deal, but the preposterous wheelspinning start as the lights went green certainly was.
1.4The amount or quality of light in a place: the plant requires good light [count noun]: in some lights she could look beautiful
More example sentences
  • On the walls were mirrors which reflected what little natural light came through the portholes around the room.
  • I resume my watch but the light is failing so I exchange my camera for my rifle.
  • On entering this vast sanctum, one is immediately struck by the quality of space and light.
1.5 Law The light falling on the windows of a house. See ancient lights.
Example sentences
  • I suppose blocking of a right to light would be an example, would it not?
  • The right to light must be a specific right, so that light is claimed for particular windows or skylights, and there cannot be a general claim for light over the whole piece of land.

Visible light is electromagnetic radiation whose wavelength falls within the range to which the human retina responds, i.e. between about 390 nm (violet light) and 740 nm (red). White light consists of a roughly equal mixture of all visible wavelengths, which can be separated to yield the colours of the spectrum, as was first demonstrated conclusively by Newton. In the 20th century it became apparent that light consists of energy quanta called photons which behave partly like waves and partly like particles. The velocity of light in a vacuum is 299,792 km per second

2 [in singular] An expression in someone’s eyes indicating a particular emotion or mood: a shrewd light entered his eyes
More example sentences
  • She seemed very pale and weak, the light from her eyes, gone.
  • She had a very soft beauty to her, but she had a fierce light in her eyes.
  • No words could describe that feeling of supreme joy at seeing the light in her eyes.
2.1 (lights) A person’s opinions, standards, and abilities: leaving the police to do the job according to their lights
More example sentences
  • The good of human freedom, by European lights, must be weighed against the risk and cost of actually fighting for it.
  • He was, by his lights at least, honest with me.
  • I think that the president is a basically decent man who is trying to do the best he can according to his lights.
talent, skill, ability;
intelligence, mental powers, intellect, knowledge, understanding
3 [mass noun] Understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment: she saw light dawn on the woman’s face
More example sentences
  • I found you on the net, and hope you may give some light to this mystery for me!
  • The light of knowledge characterises John's spiritual development and devotion to God.
  • The light of knowledge is necessary to expel this demon of ignorance, he says.
aspect, angle, slant, approach, interpretation, viewpoint, standpoint, context, point of view, vantage point;
appearance, guise, hue, complexion
understanding, enlightenment, illumination, comprehension, insight, awareness, knowledge, elucidation, explanation, clarification, edification
3.1Spiritual illumination by divine truth.
Example sentences
  • They believed this to be a natural power of the soul, realized as it gradually opens itself to divine light and truth.
  • The light of the divine shines everywhere, and has no gender, and has no single pronoun, and has no one image.
  • May God grant new gospel light to this spiritually deprived nation!
4An area of something that is brighter or paler than its surroundings: sunshine will brighten the natural lights in your hair
More example sentences
  • The hanging lantern caught the lights in his blond hair.
  • Squint your eyes and see the landscape as a series of shapes, lights and darks, as opposed to seeing every detail.
  • My uncle turns, glances at me, the sun from behind the clouds casting lights and darks across his lean face.
5A device used to produce a flame or spark: he asked me for a light
More example sentences
  • I was nervous and when I get nervous I smoke - too bad I didn't have a light.
match, (cigarette) lighter, flame, spark, source of fire
6A window or opening to let light in: the bedroom has a wide bay with leaded lights
More example sentences
  • The opening casements were also taped along the junction between the casement and the opening light.
  • Summer cross-ventilation can be obtained through opening lights in the glass wall and the motorized panes of the clerestory.
  • Top lights and side windows flood the building with daylight from unexpected angles.
6.1A perpendicular division of a mullioned window.
Example sentences
  • Well-lit by a triple-light mullion and transom window with wooden surrounds, the landing was given additional light from a dormer window high up in the central gable.
  • The windows also show progress in one particular way: they are still mullioned and transomed, but the individual lights are no longer arched.
6.2A pane of glass forming the roof or side of a greenhouse or the top of a cold frame.
Example sentences
  • In summer, the glazed frame-light can often be left off altogether and replaced with a slatted frame, the glazed light being put back if there is a likelihood of heavy rain.
7A person eminent in a particular sphere of activity: such lights of Liberalism as the historian Goldwin Smith
More example sentences
  • He said Mandisi has always been a shining light and brought understanding and laughter to their lives.
  • He had made other mistakes over the years, but he also had been one of the bright and shining lights of college sports.
  • New cap Scott MacLeod is one of Scotland's bright young lights, but Gray fails to shine.
expert, authority, master, leader, guru;
leading light, guiding light, luminary, celebrity, dignitary, public figure, worthy, VIP, big name, star
8British (In a crossword puzzle) a blank space to be filled by a letter.

verb (past lit lɪt; past participle lit or lighted)

[with object] Back to top  
1Provide with light or lighting; illuminate: the room was lit by a number of small lamps lightning suddenly lit up the house
More example sentences
  • We were both watching TV, the pictures brightly lighting the dark living room.
  • Sets are very minimalist but lit to good effect.
  • It's cramped, poorly stocked and somehow dimly lit.
1.1Switch on (an electric light): only one of the table lamps was lit
More example sentences
  • It was peaceful, the street lights were lit and the only noise that could be heard was a dog barking in the distance.
  • As he flicked the switch to light the brightly coloured bulbs, an enormous cheer went up from onlookers.
  • In later years insurance companies forced the removal of the old candelabras and these were replaced with little electric lights, lighted by a button.
1.2 [with object and adverbial] Provide a light for (someone) so that they can see where they are going: I’ll light you down to the gate
More example sentences
  • If we are among the lucky ones we may have an oil lamp but in most cases we have a candle to light us to bed.
  • One was so scrupulous that when he finished work, he would snuff out the candle the state had provided and light himself to bed with his own.
  • We took off our sandals, and two of the men carried burning torches to light our way.
make bright, brighten, illuminate, make brighter, lighten, throw/cast/shed light on, shine on, irradiate, flood with light, floodlight
literary illumine
1.3 [no object] (light up) Become illuminated: the sign to fasten seat belts lit up
More example sentences
  • The night sky would light up; there was a bright white glow every time the lightning surged through the clouds.
  • I stared blankly at the PC screen, waiting for it to light up.
  • They should wear light coloured clothes and reflective armbands and have bicycles properly lit up, front and back.
become bright, brighten, become brighter, lighten, flash, shine, gleam, flare, blaze, glint, sparkle, flicker, shimmer, glisten, scintillate, glare, beam
2Make (something) start burning; ignite: Alan gathered sticks and lit a fire (as adjective lighted or lit) a lit cigarette
More example sentences
  • He pulled out a cigarette, lit it, and walked away from the fire, through the village, and into the forest.
  • We both lit our Bic lighters as if we were at a Grateful Dead concert.
  • Almost every month my neighbour has a bonfire: last Friday at 9.15 pm he lit one.
set alight, set light to, set burning, set on fire, set fire to, put/set a match to, ignite, kindle, burn, spark (off), fire, touch off, start, torch
archaic enkindle
2.1 [no object] Begin to burn; be ignited: the gas wouldn’t light properly
More example sentences
  • Mr Griffiths was sucking hopefully at his pipe, which had refused to light properly.
  • However, the four managed to overpower the man and retrieve the lighter before it lit.
  • It took three goes to get the cigarette to light, as my hands were shaking.
2.2 (light something up) Ignite a cigarette, cigar, or pipe and begin to smoke it: she lit up a cigarette and puffed on it serenely [no object]: workers who light up in prohibited areas face dismissal
More example sentences
  • He fished a pipe out of his pocket, lit it up, and began to smoke.
  • She got out her last cigarette and lit it up as she walked away.
  • When I see people struggling to light their smokes up in a stinking back alley in the dead of winter, in the rain, I really can't see that is their little pleasure time.


Back to top  
1Having a considerable or sufficient amount of natural light; not dark: the bedrooms are light and airy
More example sentences
  • If it is sufficiently light outside to tell a white thread from a black thread then one should be fasting.
  • The closer one is to the North Pole, the longer the dark or light period is.
  • The seeds were then grown in vermiculite at 30°C under dark or light conditions.
bright, full of light, well lit, well lighted, well illuminated, sunny, sunshiny, undimmed, brilliant
2(Of a colour) pale: her eyes were light blue
More example sentences
  • The walls were a dark jade color here, the tile a light tan covered with crimson matting.
  • The streets of the city were cobble stones, and most of the buildings made of a light gray stone or wood.
  • The screen turned light purple and a single folder appeared in the middle of the screen.


Old English lēoht, līht (noun and adjective), līhtan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch licht and German Licht, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek leukos 'white' and Latin lux 'light'.

  • The two words spelled light have different sources. The light referring to the rays that stimulate sight shares an ancestor with Greek leukos ‘white’ (found in leukaemia (mid 19th century) a disease that affects the white blood cells), and Latin lux (source of lucid (late 16th century)). The light referring to weight comes from the same ancient root as lung (Old English)—the lightness of the lungs distinguishes them from other internal organs. This sense of light survives in lights (Middle English), the lungs of sheep, pigs or bullocks, used as food, especially for pets. If someone does something that creates a tense or exciting situation, people might say that they light the blue touch-paper. A touch-paper is a type of fuse that will burn slowly when touched by a spark. It is now only used with fireworks, but in the past would also have been a means for igniting gunpowder. The word lighten (Middle English) ‘shed light on’ is the source of lightning (Middle English).


bring (or come) to light

Make or become widely known or evident: no new facts came to light
More example sentences
  • The club also questioned the fact that the controversy had come to light on the eve of a key match against champions AC Milan today.
  • We don't know what kind of evidence this prosecutor has brought to light.
  • Once all of the facts are brought to light, all judges will of course judge impartially.
reveal, disclose, expose, uncover, show up, lay bare, unveil, manifest, unearth, dig up, dig out, turn up, bring to notice, detect, identify, dredge up, smoke out, root out, ferret out, hunt out, nose out
be discovered, be uncovered, be unearthed, appear, come out, transpire, become known, become apparent, materialize, emerge, crop up, turn up, show up, pop up

go out like a light

informal Fall asleep or lose consciousness suddenly: she returned to bed and went out like a light
More example sentences
  • Staggering, I turned around to face my attacker but never saw him, a second fist followed the first and I went out like a light.
  • I can hear her breathing and going out like a light.
  • Something hit the back of the trench and I went out like a light.

in a —— light

So as to give a specified impression: the audit portrayed the company in a favourable light
More example sentences
  • Nor does it stop one school being compared with another in an unfair light.
  • If the phrase ‘traditional marriage’ casts one's view on the matter in an unfavourable light, then by all means, use a different one.
  • You know, it doesn't even show the military in an unflattering light, it's more warts-and-all kind of thing.

in the light of (or in light of)

Taking (something) into consideration: the exorbitant prices are explainable in the light of the facts
More example sentences
  • In the light of what happened at Newcastle, it had been decided that it would not be in the public interest to proceed with the two charges today.
  • Our task is to evaluate the ensuing legislation in the light of all these matters.
  • In the light of my conclusion it is unnecessary to express an opinion on this argument.

light a fire under someone

see fire.

light and shade

The contrast between lighter and darker areas in a painting.
Example sentences
  • The last decade of the 5th century and the first of the 4th saw the next peak of Greek painting: Pliny says Apollodorus ‘opened the gates of painting’, balancing light and shade.
  • And yet Vermeer seems willing to set down the areas of light and shade just as they occur.
  • Avison also draws analogies between music and painting: both require a mixture of light and shade, foreground, middle ground and distance.
6.1The contrast between more and less intense emphatic treatment of something: the sinfonietta players bring ample light and shade to the music
More example sentences
  • Beautiful tone, assured phrasing, wonderful contrasts of light and shade, the players revelled in Haydn's ever-inventive musicality.
  • Director David Bintley has brought north three works of contrasting light and shade, style and vintage that add up to a superbly balanced programme.
  • ‘Judgement’ is an atmospheric and emotional work, musically balancing light and shade, metal riffs contrasting with delicate acoustic passages.

light at the end of the tunnel

An indication that a long period of difficulty is nearing an end: it had been a hard struggle but I could see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel
More example sentences
  • There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, but it is still a long way off yet.
  • It has, at times, been difficult but he can see a light at the end of the tunnel now.
  • We are able to work alone for long periods of time, if necessary, with no light at the end of the tunnel.

light the fuse

see fuse2.

the light of day

Daylight: we sailed at the first light of day
More example sentences
  • Oddly, since the day was so foggy, parts of the landscape that were completely obscured in the light of day, now shone brightly under a moon brilliant enough to read by.
  • These creatures are vulnerable only to sunlight, which makes it pretty weird that there's not one scene in the movie where a single demon is exposed to the light of day.
  • As the light of day slowly dimmed, the world was lit by the angry flashes of lightning which crackled across the sky.
9.1General public attention: bringing old family secrets into the light of day
More example sentences
  • As soon as that is exposed to the light of day, the public will revolt against it.
  • Does Keighley hide some kind of weapons of mass destruction or is there some other secret that cannot bear the light of day?
  • A masked killer is stalking the High School where almost all the students have deep, dark and dirty secrets hidden from the light of day.

the light of one's life

A much loved person: she was his only child, the light of his life
More example sentences
  • JJ has given me a lifetime of love in a short time, and she is the light of my life.
  • I lost the light of my life, my buddy, my best friend.
  • He had always been the light of my life and I thought he was so brave, moving away from everything he knew to make a fresh start.

the lights are on, but nobody's (or no one's)home

Used to suggest that a person lacks intelligence or awareness: looking into their eyes, it’s a clear case of the lights are on, but nobody’s home
More example sentences
  • What's up with Calvin's vacant "the lights are on but nobody's home" type stare.
  • The bland expression on her face just looks like "the lights are on but nobody is at home"!
  • She's as boring as could be, I'd imagine, because she has that "lights are on but there's nobody home" expression about her.

lights out

Bedtime in a school dormitory, military barracks, or other institution, when lights should be switched off: a few minutes before lights out
More example sentences
  • The other night, just before lights out in the barracks, the girl I sleep beside on a regular basis had what I thought was a pretty perceptive thought - for a girl.
  • The older children, the over 16's, were allowed forty-five minutes more, before lights out at ten.
  • So, he worked, counting down the minutes until lights out.

lit up

Pronunciation: /ˌlɪt ˈʌp/
informal , dated Drunk: a lit-up Augustus should provide a spectacle which nobody ought to miss
More example sentences
  • She was flushed and sweaty and lit up on something.

see the light

Understand or realize something after prolonged thought or doubt: he suddenly saw the light and realized he was going nowhere with United
More example sentences
  • Prominent organizations have began to see the light more, and realize what kind of production prospects can give them.
  • I wish I could say that the experience helped me see the light and realize that I had misjudged the film.
  • Would it suddenly see the light and stop its bullying?
understand, realize
informal cotton on, catch on, get the message, get the picture, have an aha moment
British informal twig
understand, comprehend, realize, find out, see daylight, work out what's going on, get the point
informal cotton on, catch on, tumble, latch on, get the picture, get the message, get the drift, get it, get wise, see what's what, savvy
British informal twig
14.1Undergo religious conversion.
Example sentences
  • Paul is in the same world after seeing the light on the road to Damascus as he was before, but everything looks different.
  • Saul's traveling companions didn't see the light because the call was not for them.
  • It took a roots-up, religious-type conversion - I'd walked in darkness, then I saw the light.

see the light of day

Be born.
Example sentences
  • George Headley was a prolific scorer for Jamaica, but he wasn't actually born there - he first saw the light of day in Panama in Central America.
15.1Begin to exist or to become publicly known or available: this software first saw the light of day back in 1993
More example sentences
  • Without that right, important information that should be available to the public would never see the light of day.
  • But let me tell you this: if nothing else I write sees the light of day, I won't care.
  • And somehow, in all his research, Marshall also missed this astonishing piece of news, which likewise has not seen the light of day before.

throw (or cast or shed) light on

Help to explain (something) by providing further information about it: no one could shed any light on the mysterious car accident
More example sentences
  • Certainly it would be fascinating to see the results, as they would throw light on exactly how much the public understands about any of this stuff.
  • Now a new poll sheds light on whether TV viewers are fed up with all the sex on television.
  • He has cast light on so many problem areas that I am moved to nominate him as the first national boxing commissioner - should that post ever be created.
explain, elucidate, clarify, clear up, offer/give an explanation for/of, make clear, make plain, interpret, comment on

Phrasal verbs

light up

(Of a person’s face or eyes) suddenly become animated with liveliness or joy: his eyes lit up and he smiled a smile of delight lit up her face
More example sentences
  • Audrey watched the exchange expectantly, a bright smile suddenly lighting up her entire face.
  • She grinned suddenly, her face lighting up, her eyes turning to tawny amber-green.
  • As for the race itself, Diane breaks into a beaming smile and her eyes light up as she recalls that sunny day at York Racecourse last May.



Pronunciation: /ˈlʌɪtɪʃ/
Example sentences
  • They are small (not bigger than 0.5 cm or 1/5 in), have lightish brown legs, and a round, hard, shiny reddish-brownish shell.
  • For the goggles, I was looking at a green camouflage colour, lightish, around the $100 mark.
  • He described him as a black male wearing black combat trousers and a lightish or light grey vest.


Example sentences
  • As an added bonus, the keyboard seems to light up, which I envision will be a boon to struggling typists working in windowless, lightless spaces.
  • After midnight the storm finally blew itself out, and the lightless convoy moved out.
  • They were not alone in enjoying this subterranean existence because Bermuda's caves support a diverse fauna specially adapted to a lightless existence.


Pronunciation: /ˈlʌɪtnəs/
Example sentences
  • Most changes are comparable to adjustments made in the traditional darkroom, such as changing the lightness, darkness and contrast of the image.
  • She stirs on the bed and at this moment I see lightness on the horizon.
  • The inset square in the left is the same in lightness as that in the right, but the former appears to be darker.

Words that rhyme with light

affright, alight, alright, aright, bedight, bight, bite, blight, bright, byte, cite, dight, Dwight, excite, fight, flight, fright, goodnight, height, ignite, impolite, indict, indite, invite, kite, knight, lite, might, mite, night, nite, outfight, outright, plight, polite, quite, right, rite, sight, site, skintight, skite, sleight, slight, smite, Snow-white, spite, sprite, tight, tonight, trite, twite, underwrite, unite, uptight, white, wight, wright, write

Definition of light in:

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There are 3 main definitions of light in English:

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light 2 Line breaks: light


1Of little weight; not heavy: light alloy wheels you’re as light as a feather
More example sentences
  • Wrap the dish in clingfilm and place in the fridge with a light weight on top for an hour or so, to allow the flavours to mingle before serving.
  • The large, sixteen-inch light alloy wheels add to the sporty dynamics of the car.
  • He worked on light metal alloys and the electrolytic production of potassium and sodium.
easy to lift, not heavy, weighing very little, lightweight;
easy to carry, portable, transportable, weightless, insubstantial, airy
1.1Deficient in weight, especially by a specified amount: the sack of potatoes is 5 kilos light
More example sentences
  • His problem was that the car came up four pounds light at the scales following the run.
  • I was 200 kilos too light to be a linebacker, I guess.
1.2Carrying or suitable for small loads: light commercial vehicles
More example sentences
  • We should require auto makers to make cars, SUVs and light trucks that go farther on a gallon of gas.
  • They plan to be using it both as a light rail transport system and a tourist attraction.
  • They were similar to the horses used for light carts and tradesmen's carts.
1.3Carrying only light armaments: light infantry
More example sentences
  • The pace of light infantry is limited to the speed of a soldier on foot.
  • Traces of the modus operandi of the light infantry of old still live on amidst special forces such as the SAS.
  • Sniper units are similar to the light infantry units but they operate in smaller teams.
1.4(Of a vehicle, ship, or aircraft) travelling unladen or with less than a full load.
Example sentences
  • That's because with empty tanks and a light car, you might find you have more grip than you expected.
  • This requires an optimized design of the vessel to minimize the light ship weight as much as possible.
1.5(Of soil) friable, porous, and workable.
Example sentences
  • Sun is vital, so choose an open site on light soil with good drainage.
  • Low rainfall and light soils of moderate fertility help control vine vigour and canopy here.
  • It tolerates salty conditions and actually prefers light, sandy soil, since it needs a supply of air to its roots.
friable, sandy, easily dug, workable;
crumbly, not dense, loose, porous
1.6(Of an isotope) having not more than the usual mass; (of a compound) containing such an isotope.
Example sentences
  • The lighter isotope of helium, helium - 3, is short of one neutron compared to its heavier version.
  • His idea was to use the material flux from an exploding fission weapon to compress a container that held the light isotopes.
2Not strongly or heavily built or made: light, impractical clothes light armour
More example sentences
  • Anthropometric measurements were taken with participants wearing light clothes and no shoes or socks.
  • He was walking in light footwear across his base camp on his way to the latrine.
  • His trademark is ready to wear dresses that are light and suitable for any occasion.
3Relatively low in density, amount, or intensity: passenger traffic was light light autumn rains
More example sentences
  • He'd walked her home through the light, early summer rain that was falling on the city.
  • We had run into pretty light resistance, and we had pushed out a couple of thousand yards.
  • It could carry 118,000 barrels of light oil products such as gasoline and heating oil.
3.1(Of food or a meal) small in quantity and easy to digest: a light supper
More example sentences
  • Here, cooks will prepare a light meal of mixed salad, tinned cold fish or meat, bread and cheese and fruit.
  • It was light and tasty, but rather deficient in the garlic stakes.
  • Prawn risotto with dill and creme fraiche had all the promise of a light but punchy starter.
small, modest, scanty, simple, skimpy, frugal, not heavy, not rich, not large;
easily digested, digestible
3.2(Of a foodstuff) low in fat, cholesterol, sugar, or other rich ingredients: stick to a light diet
More example sentences
  • It was white, fleshy and not oily, cooked in a light batter and served with a white cream sauce and mushrooms.
  • Each doctor that saw her said something different about her diet; food, no food, light diet; no food!
  • Adding some light dairy products to a smart diet was first seen as a way to lower blood pressure.
3.3(Of drink) not strongly alcoholic or heavy on the stomach: a light Hungarian wine
More example sentences
  • Pale green in the glass, with golden highlights, this is a soft, light wine with attractive floral notes.
  • Schiava grapes are found in most of the non-varietal light red wines of Trentino-Alto Adige.
  • I took a seat on a high barstool amongst the quiet and serious four and ordered half a pint of light ale for the golden pound I had had in my right pocket.
3.4(Of pastry or cake) fluffy or well aerated during cooking: it was delicious, the pastry light and flaky
More example sentences
  • Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the beaten egg a little at a time while continuing to work.
  • The pastry was crisp and light and the salad was the kind where you wanted to eat every scrap.
  • The sticky toffee pudding had a light sponge and moreish caramel sauce, all of which disappeared fast.
4Gentle or delicate: she planted a light kiss on his cheek my breathing was steady and light
More example sentences
  • The knock on the front door was light, and at first I wasn't certain of it.
  • Even Levine, looking tired, doesn't approach the podium with a light step these days.
  • The therapy is very gentle, using only light touch, but it is amazing in its results.
gentle, delicate, soft, dainty, graceful;
faint, indistinct
4.1(Of type) having thin strokes; not bold: times shown in light type denote connecting services
More example sentences
  • The thickness of the font was kind of perfect for our logo, not too bold and not too light.
5(Of entertainment) requiring little mental effort; not profound or serious: pop is thought of as light entertainment some light reading
More example sentences
  • Anyone seeking a little light reading had better steer clear of this book.
  • None of the inherent whimsy is lost and the film remains an incredibly moving but suitably light piece.
  • Wavell had, it seems, an interest both in light fiction and serious history.
amusing, humorous, funny, chucklesome, witty, light-hearted;
frivolous, unserious, superficial, trivial, trifling
5.1Not solemn or unhappy; cheerful: I left the island with a light heart
More example sentences
  • Penn keeps the tone of the film extremely light, as the action effortlessly hops between Florida and Beverly Hills.
  • The first part of the story ends at a very natural point in the story, and on a suitably light moment.
  • All day, there are thoughts both weighty and light dancing through my head.
gentle, mild, moderate, slight;
playful, light-hearted, easy-going;
witty, dry
buoyant, vivacious, bubbly, jaunty, bouncy, breezy, optimistic, positive, upbeat, ebullient, easy-going, free and easy, happy-go-lucky
dated gay
5.2Easily borne or done: he received a light sentence some light housework
More example sentences
  • Are they working to review the light sentence that has been handed out?
  • But suggest a bit of light housework and he's all feral snarls and pulling rank.
  • Sit up, do light housework, or take a walk until your body has had a chance to digest.
easy, simple, undemanding, untaxing, unexacting, not burdensome, moderate, endurable, bearable, tolerable
informal cushy
6(Of sleep or a sleeper) easily disturbed: I’m a light sleeper her sleep was light and fitful
More example sentences
  • She easily fell into a light sleep, wanting to be able to wake up at the slightest sign of danger.
  • She is a light sleeper and sleeping next to me does deprive her of what little sleep she does get.
  • I am a fairly light sleeper, and do get woken very easily by sound.
7 archaic (Of a woman) promiscuous.
Example sentences
  • Jude found the room full of soldiers and light women.


Old English lēocht, līht (noun), lēohte (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch licht and German leicht, from an Indo-European root shared by lung.

  • The two words spelled light have different sources. The light referring to the rays that stimulate sight shares an ancestor with Greek leukos ‘white’ (found in leukaemia (mid 19th century) a disease that affects the white blood cells), and Latin lux (source of lucid (late 16th century)). The light referring to weight comes from the same ancient root as lung (Old English)—the lightness of the lungs distinguishes them from other internal organs. This sense of light survives in lights (Middle English), the lungs of sheep, pigs or bullocks, used as food, especially for pets. If someone does something that creates a tense or exciting situation, people might say that they light the blue touch-paper. A touch-paper is a type of fuse that will burn slowly when touched by a spark. It is now only used with fireworks, but in the past would also have been a means for igniting gunpowder. The word lighten (Middle English) ‘shed light on’ is the source of lightning (Middle English).


be light on

Be rather short of: we’re light on fuel
More example sentences
  • I've complained before about movies being light on plot, but this one is absolutely plot-free.
  • Such civil litigation is labour intensive, and like all capital defence offices, we were light on labour.
  • He has been light on policy while exhorting voters to abandon the stale battle between right and left.

be light on one's feet

(Of a person) be quick or nimble: she may be plump but she is very light on her feet
More example sentences
  • As she dances around the ring, she is light on her feet and moves with the grace and subtle strength of a ballet dancer in a pas de deux.
  • She was never exactly a ballerina but she could be light on her feet if she needed to be.
  • We hired a swing band, so there was a ton of dancing and I was light on my feet well past midnight.
nimble, deft, agile, lithe, limber, lissom, flexible, supple, adroit, graceful, acrobatic, lively, active, quick, quick-moving, spry, sprightly;
informal twinkle-toed, nippy
literary fleet, lightsome

a light touch

The ability to deal with something tactfully or in an understated way: a novel which handles its tricky subject with a light touch
More example sentences
  • Directed with wit and a light touch, the production flew like the wind, but never so quickly that the zany personalities got lost in the rush.
  • My clients appreciate my light touch and a cool head when it comes to dividing marital assets, custody agreements and determining child support or spousal support.
  • Her directing is right on, and her light touch steers Galloway deftly through some black humor.

make light of

Treat as unimportant: I didn’t mean to make light of your problems
More example sentences
  • Companies that make light of elders are finding a consumer force to reckon with.
  • This is the second time Mr Howard has made light of such an incident.
  • Unfortunately, the subtlety, range and freshness of her work has too often been ignorantly made light of.
play down, downplay, understate, underrate, rate too low, not do justice to, do an injustice to, underplay, de-emphasize, underemphasize, trivialize, minimize, diminish, downgrade, reduce, lessen, brush aside, gloss over, shrug off
rare misprize, minify

make light work of

Accomplish (a task) quickly and easily: make light work of cooking with the help of this electronic food processor
More example sentences
  • Having bowled out their opponents for 170, the home side made light work of knocking off the required runs with more than 18 overs to spare.
  • At the end of the day-long meeting, he made light work of summing up the main points.
  • High praise is due to our server, who made light work of snaking his way through the thickets of humanity.

travel light

Travel with a minimum load or minimum luggage: she’s one of those backpackers who likes to travel light
More example sentences
  • The commandos and Special Forces traveled light and were trained for this kind of backwoods work.
  • We all travelled light, taking with us only what we considered to be the bare essentials of life.
  • Frank travelled light around the world, with one small cardboard suitcase and a canvas rucksack.



Pronunciation: /ˈlʌɪtɪʃ/
Example sentences
  • In addition to the eggs, he puts in a little flour, some milk or a little water, and makes a lightish sort of batter.
  • It's a lightish drinking wine and a good Pinot for the money.
  • Transfixed by a sports agenda of lightish news, the BBC failed to see the real story.


Pronunciation: /ˈlʌɪtnəs/
Example sentences
  • Fabrics in general had a feeling of lightness and suppleness in all fiber types, and had a seasonless look to them.
  • Many people were concerned at the lightness of the sentence.
  • My ideal in gymnastics is lightness, beauty and grace in performance.

Definition of light in:

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There are 3 main definitions of light in English:

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light 3 Line breaks: light

verb (past and past participle lit lɪt or lighted)

[no object]
1 (light on/upon) Come upon or discover by chance: he lit on a possible solution
More example sentences
  • The sunlight struck upon my face and my eyes lit upon the white and sandy shores of France.
  • He turned to go home; but even as he turned, his eye lit upon a figure behind a tree.
  • Upon arriving in Sonoma, she lit upon the idea of launching a high-end home store where she could combine both her passions under one roof.
2 archaic Descend: from the horse he lit down
More example sentences
  • Gently she handed the little girl to her mother and they lighted from their horses.
2.1 (light on) Fall and settle or land on (a surface): a feather just lighted on the ground
More example sentences
  • It was said with a grin but that didn't dilute the cloud that lighted on the soldier's face.
  • A thrush had lighted on a bough not five meters away, almost at the level of their faces.


Old English līhtan (in (sense 2); also 'lessen the weight of'), from light2; compare with alight1.

  • The two words spelled light have different sources. The light referring to the rays that stimulate sight shares an ancestor with Greek leukos ‘white’ (found in leukaemia (mid 19th century) a disease that affects the white blood cells), and Latin lux (source of lucid (late 16th century)). The light referring to weight comes from the same ancient root as lung (Old English)—the lightness of the lungs distinguishes them from other internal organs. This sense of light survives in lights (Middle English), the lungs of sheep, pigs or bullocks, used as food, especially for pets. If someone does something that creates a tense or exciting situation, people might say that they light the blue touch-paper. A touch-paper is a type of fuse that will burn slowly when touched by a spark. It is now only used with fireworks, but in the past would also have been a means for igniting gunpowder. The word lighten (Middle English) ‘shed light on’ is the source of lightning (Middle English).

Phrasal verbs

light into

North American informal Criticize severely; attack: he lit into him for his indiscretion
More example sentences
  • One student said something to the effect of ‘everyone calm down’ and then Zack lit into that guy.
  • He lit into the head of his National Security Forces.
  • The magazine gleefully lit into its competitors in its May 14 issue, but it makes its own share of blunders.
assault, set upon, fall on, attack, assail, turn on, lash out at, round on, strike, beat;
thrash, drub, thump, batter, hammer, pummel, hit out at, strike out at, (let) fly at, weigh into, belabour
British informal have a go at
informal pitch into, rap someone's knuckles, slap someone's wrist, dress down, give someone a dressing-down, carpet, tell off, bawl out
British informal tick off, have a go at, slag off
North American informal chew out
rare reprehend, excoriate, objurgate

light out

North American informal Depart hurriedly: he lit out for California to ‘find’ himself
More example sentences
  • Janie then lit out of the house with her shotgun, telling Pa she was off to find Lyddie June.
  • MacAdams, a white poet and journalist from Texas who lit out for the cool of New York, is part of it too.
  • We are a society of people who light out for the territory when problems come along.

Definition of light in:

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