1. n., v., & adj.
1. the natural agent (electromagnetic radiation of wavelength between about 390 and 740 mm) that stimulates sight and makes things visible.
2 the medium or condition of the space in which this is present.
3 an appearance of brightness (saw a distant light).
4 a a source of light, e.g. the sun, or a lamp, fire, etc. b (in pl.) illuminations.
5 (often in pl.) a traffic-light (went through a red light; stop at the lights).
6 a the amount or quality of illumination in a place (bad light stopped play). b one's fair or usual share of this (you are standing in my light).
7 a a flame or spark serving to ignite (struck a light). b a device producing this (have you got a light?).
8 the aspect in which a thing is regarded or considered (appeared in a new light).
9 a mental illumination; elucidation, enlightenment. b hope, happiness; a happy outcome. c spiritual illumination by divine truth.
10 vivacity, enthusiasm, or inspiration visible in a person's face, esp. in the eyes.
11 (in pl.) a person's mental powers or ability (according to one's lights).
12 an eminent person (a leading light).
13 a the bright part of a thing; a highlight. b the bright parts of a picture etc. esp. suggesting illumination (light and shade).
14 a a window or opening in a wall to let light in. b the perpendicular division of a mullioned window. c a pane of glass esp. in the side or roof of a greenhouse.
15 (in a crossword etc.) each of the items filling a space and to be deduced from the clues.
16 Law the light falling on windows, the obstruction of which by a neighbour is illegal.
--v. (past lit; past part. lit or (attrib.) lighted)
1. tr. & intr. set burning or begin to burn; ignite.
2 tr. provide with light or lighting.
3 tr. show (a person) the way or surroundings with a light.
4 intr. (usu. foll. by up) (of the face or eyes) brighten with animation.
1. well provided with light; not dark.
2 (of a colour) pale (light blue; a light-blue ribbon).
Phrases and idioms:
bring (or come) to light reveal or be revealed. festival of lights
2 DIWALI. in a good (or bad) light giving a favourable (or unfavourable) impression. in the light of having regard to; drawing information from. light-bulb a glass bulb containing an inert gas and a metal filament, providing light when an electric current is passed through. lighting-up time the time during or after which vehicles on the road must show the prescribed lights. light meter an instrument for measuring the intensity of the light, esp. to show the correct photographic exposure.
light of day
1. daylight, sunlight.
2 general notice; public attention. light of one's life usu. joc. a much-loved person.
light-pen (or -gun)
1. a penlike or gunlike photosensitive device held to the screen of a computer terminal for passing information on to it.
2 a light-emitting device used for reading bar-codes. light show a display of changing coloured lights for entertainment.
1. colloq. begin to smoke a cigarette etc.
2 switch on lights or lighting; illuminate a scene.
1. Astron. the distance light travels in one year, nearly 6 million million miles.
2 (in pl.) colloq. a long distance or great amount. lit up colloq. drunk. out like a light deeply asleep or unconscious. throw (or shed) light on help to explain.
lightish adj. lightless adj. lightness n.
Etymology: OE leoht, liht, lihtan f. Gmc 2. adj., adv., & v.
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.
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.).
Phrases and idioms:
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
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.
Etymology: OE leoht, liht, lihtan f. Gmc, the verbal sense from the idea of relieving a horse etc. of weight