light
Pronunciation
  • enPR: līt, IPA: /laɪt/
  • (GA) IPA: [ɫɐɪ̯ʔ]
  • (CA, regional US) IPA: /lʌɪt/
Noun

light

  1. (physics, uncountable) Visible electromagnetic radiation. The human eye can typically detect radiation (light) in the wavelength range of about 400 to 750 nanometers. Nearby shorter and longer wavelength ranges, although not visible, are commonly called ultraviolet and infrared light.
    As you can see, this spacious dining-room gets a lot of light in the mornings.
    • 2016, [https://web.archive.org/web/20171030003034/https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/lets-learn-english-lesson-8-are-you-busy/3253185.html VOA Learning English] (public domain)
      When the studio light is on, I am recording my evening show.
  2. A source of illumination.
    Put that light out!
  3. Spiritual or mental illumination; enlightenment, useful information.
    Can you throw any light on this problem?
    • c. 1590–1591, William Shakespeare, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene i]:
      He shall never know / That I had any light of this from thee.
  4. (in the plural, now, rare) Facts; pieces of information; ideas, concepts.
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970 ↗:
      , Book I, New York 2001, page 166:
      Now these notions are twofold, actions or habits […], which are durable lights and notions, which we may use when we will.
  5. A notable person within a specific field or discipline.
    Picasso was one of the leading lights of the cubist movement.
    • ?, Alfred Tennyson, A Dream of Fair Women
      Joan of Arc, a light of ancient France
  6. (painting) The manner in which the light strikes a picture; that part of a picture which represents those objects upon which the light is supposed to fall; the more illuminated part of a landscape or other scene; opposed to shade.
  7. A point of view, or aspect from which a concept, person or thing is regarded.
    I'm really seeing you in a different light today.
    Magoon's governorship in Cuba was viewed in a negative light by many Cuban historians for years thereafter.
    • Frequent consideration of a thing […] shows it in its several lights and various ways of appearance.
    • 1945 August 17, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 3, in Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, London: Secker & Warburg, OCLC 3655473 ↗:
      Now if there was one thing that the animals were completely certain of, it was that they did not want Jones back. When it was put to them in this light, they had no more to say.
  8. A flame or something used to create fire.
    Hey, buddy, you got a light?
  9. A firework made by filling a case with a substance which burns brilliantly with a white or coloured flame.
    a Bengal light
  10. A window, or space for a window in architecture.
    This facade has eight south-facing lights.
  11. The series of squares reserved for the answer to a crossword clue.
    The average length of a light on a 15×15 grid is 7 or 8.
  12. (informal) A cross-light in a double acrostic or triple acrostic.
  13. Open view; a visible state or condition; public observation; publicity.
    • c. 1603–1604, William Shakespeare, “Measvre for Measure”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene ii]:
      The duke yet would have dark deeds darkly answered; he would never bring them to light.
  14. The power of perception by vision.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Psalms 38:10 ↗:
      My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eies, it also is gone from me.
  15. The brightness of the eye or eyes.
    • c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene i]:
      He seemed to find his way without his eyes; / For out o'door he went without their helps, / And, to the last, bended their light on me.
  16. A traffic light, or, by extension, an intersection controlled by one or more that will face a traveler who is receiving instructions.
    To get to our house, turn right at the third light.
Synonyms Verb

light (lights, present participle lighting; past and past participle lit)

  1. (transitive) To start (a fire).
    Synonyms: set
    Antonyms: extinguish, put out, quench
    We lit the fire to get some heat.
  2. (transitive) To set fire to; to set burning.
    Synonyms: ignite, kindle, conflagrate
    Antonyms: extinguish, put out, quench
    She lit her last match.
    • if a thousand candles be all lighted from one
  3. (transitive) To illuminate; to provide light for when it is dark.
    Synonyms: illuminate, light up
    I used my torch to light the way home through the woods in the night.
    • One hundred years ago, to have lit this theatre as brilliantly as it is now lighted would have cost, I suppose, fifty pounds.
    • The Sun has set, and Vesper, to supply / His absent beams, has lighted up the sky.
  4. (intransitive) To become ignited; to take fire.
    Synonyms: catch fire, ignite, conflagrate
    This soggy match will not light.
  5. To attend or conduct with a light; to show the way to by means of a light.
    • His bishops lead him forth, and light him on.
Related terms



Translations Translations Translations Translations Adjective

light (comparative lighter, superlative lightest)

  1. Having light; bright; clear; not dark or obscure.
    The room is light when the Sun shines through the window.
  2. Pale or whitish in color; highly luminous and more or less deficient in chroma.
    She had light skin.
  3. (of coffee) Served with extra milk or cream.
    I like my coffee light.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Adjective

light (comparative lighter, superlative lightest)

  1. Having little or relatively little actual weight; not cumbrous or unwieldy.
    a light load ; a lighter backpack after having removed the books ; light weapons
    • These weights did not exert their natural gravity […] insomuch that I could not guess which was light or heavy whilst I held them in my hand.
  2. Having little weight as compared with bulk; of little density or specific gravity.
    feathers and cork are light ; oil is lighter than water
  3. Of short or insufficient weight; weighing less than the legal, standard or proper amount; clipped or diminished.
    to issue light coin
  4. Lacking that which burdens or makes heavy.
    1. Free from burden or impediment; unencumbered.
    2. Lightly built; typically designed for speed or small loads.
      a light aircraft ; a light tank
    3. (military) Not heavily armed; armed with light weapons.
      light infantry; a troop of light horse
    4. (nautical, of a ship) Riding high because of no cargo; by extension, pertaining to a ship which is light.
      if a ship is light or partially loaded ; the light draft of a vessel, or its light displacement
    5. (rail transport, of a locomotive or consist of locomotives) Without any piece of equipment attached or attached only to a caboose.
      the light locomotives ; a locomotive may be moved light
    6. With low viscosity
  5. (cookery) Not heavy or soggy; spongy; well raised.
    a light bread ; sponge cake is a light cake
  6. Gentle; having little force or momentum.
    This artist clearly had a light, flowing touch.
  7. Easy to endure or perform.
    light duties around the house
    • Light sufferings give us leisure to complain.
  8. Low in fat, calories, alcohol, salt, etc.
    This light beer still gets you drunk if you have enough of it.
  9. Unimportant, trivial, having little value or significance.
    I made some light comment, and we moved on.
  10. (obsolete) Unchaste, wanton.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.i:
      Long after lay he musing at her mood, / Much grieu'd to thinke that gentle Dame so light, / For whose defence he was to shed his blood.
    • c. 1595–1596, William Shakespeare, “Loues Labour’s Lost”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene ii]:
      So do not you; for you are a light girl.
    • c. 1596–1598, William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene i]:
      A light wife doth make a heavy husband.
  11. Not encumbered; unembarrassed; clear of impediments; hence, active; nimble; swift.
    • 1625, Francis Bacon, Of Marriage and Single Life
      Unmarried men are best friends, best masters […] but not always best subjects, for they are light to run away.
  12. (dated) Easily influenced by trifling considerations; unsteady; unsettled; volatile.
    a light, vain person; a light mind
    • There is no greater argument of a light and inconsiderate person than profanely to scoff at religion.
  13. Indulging in, or inclined to, levity; lacking dignity or solemnity; frivolous; airy.
    Ogden Nash was a writer of light verse.
    • c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene ii]:
      Seneca can not be too heavy, nor Plautus too light.
    • specimens of New England humour laboriously light and lamentably mirthful
  14. Not quite sound or normal; somewhat impaired or deranged; dizzy; giddy.
    • c. 1603–1604, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene i]:
      Are his wits safe? Is he not light of brain?
  15. Easily interrupted by stimulation.
    light sleep; light anesthesia
Synonyms Antonyms Related terms

Translations Translations Translations Translations Adverb

light (comparative lighter, superlative lightest)

  1. Carrying little.
    I prefer to travel light.
Related terms

Noun

light (plural lights)

  1. (curling) A stone that is not thrown hard enough.
  2. See lights ("lungs").
Verb

light (lights, present participle lighting; past and past participle lighted)

  1. (nautical) To unload a ship, or to jettison material to make it lighter
  2. To lighten; to ease of a burden; to take off.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: Printed [by John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938 ↗, book I:
      His mailèd habergeon she did undight, / And from his head his heavy burgonet did light.
Translations Verb

light (lights, present participle lighting; past and past participle lit)

  1. To find by chance.
    I lit upon a rare book in a second-hand bookseller's.
  2. To stop upon of eyes or a glance; to notice
    • 1903, Jack London, The Call of the Wild
      "Sacredam!" he cried, when his eyes lit upon Buck.
  3. (archaic) To alight; to land or come down.
    She fell out of the window but luckily lit on her feet.
    • 1769, Benjamin Blayney (Ed.), King James Bible (Genesis 25:64)
      And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.
    • 1885, Theodore Roosevelt, Hunting Trips of a Ranchman
      Some kinds of ducks in lighting strike the water with their tails first, and skitter along the surface for a few feet before settling down.
    • 1957, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel), The Cat in the Hat
      And our fish came down, too. He fell into a pot! He said, "Do I like this? Oh, no! I do not. This is not a good game," Said our fish as he lit.
Synonyms
Light
Proper noun
  1. Surname
  2. An unincorporated community in Greene County, Arkansas.
  3. (Islam) The 24th sura (chapter) of the Qur'an.



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