adj., adv., & v.
adj. 1 of little weight; not heavy; easy to lift. 2 a relatively low in weight, amount, density, intensity, etc. (light arms; light traffic; light metal; light rain; a light breeze). b deficient in weight (light coin). c (of an isotope etc.) having not more than the usual mass. 3 a carrying or suitable for small loads (light aircraft; light railway). b (of a ship) unladen. c carrying only light arms, armaments, etc. (light brigade; light infantry). d (of a locomotive) with no train attached. 4 a (of food, a meal, etc.) small in amount; easy to digest (had a light lunch). b (of drink) not heavy on the stomach or strongly alcoholic. 5 a (of entertainment, music, etc.) intended for amusement, rather than edification; not profound. b frivolous, thoughtless, trivial (a light remark). 6 (of sleep or a sleeper) easily disturbed. 7 easily borne or done (light duties). 8 nimble; quick-moving (a light step; light of foot; a light rhythm). 9 (of a building etc.) graceful, elegant, delicate. 10 (of type) not heavy or bold. 11 a free from sorrow; cheerful (a light heart). b giddy (light in the head). 12 (of soil) not dense; porous. 13 (of pastry, sponge, etc.) fluffy and well-aerated during cooking and with the fat fully absorbed. 14 (of a woman) unchaste or wanton; fickle.
adv. 1 in a light manner (tread light; sleep light). 2 with a minimum load or minimum luggage (travel light).
v.intr. (past and past part. lit or lighted) 1 (foll. by on, upon) come upon or find by chance. 2 archaic a alight, descend. b (foll. by on) land on (shore etc.). lighter-than-air (of an aircraft) weighing less than the air it displaces. light-fingered given to stealing. light flyweight see FLYWEIGHT. light-footed nimble. light-footedly nimbly. light-headed giddy, frivolous, delirious. light-headedly in a light-headed manner. light-headedness being light-headed. light-hearted 1 cheerful. 2 (unduly) casual, thoughtless. light-heartedly in a light-hearted manner. light-heartedness being light-hearted. light heavyweight see HEAVYWEIGHT. light industry the manufacture of small or light articles. light into colloq. attack. light middleweight see MIDDLEWEIGHT. light out colloq. depart. light touch delicate or tactful treatment. light welterweight see WELTERWEIGHT. make light of treat as unimportant. make light work of do a thing quickly and easily. lightish adj. lightness n.
[ OE leoht, liht, lihtan f. Gmc, the verbal sense from the idea of relieving a horse etc. of weight ]