Meaning of LIGHT in English

I. ˈlīt, usu -īd.+V noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English liht, light, from Old English lēoht, līht; akin to Old High German lioht light, Old Norse ljōs, Gothic liuhath, Latin luc-, lux light, lucēre to shine, Greek leukos white, Sanskrit rocate he shines


a. : something that makes vision possible

God said, “Let there be light ”; and there was light — Gen 1:3 (Revised Standard Version)

b. : the sensation aroused by stimulation of the visual pathways : brightness , luminosity

that light we see is burning in my hall — Shakespeare

c. : an electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range including infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and X rays and traveling in a vacuum with a speed of about 186,281 miles per second ; specifically : the part of this range that is visible to the human eye and extends approximately from a wavelength of 3900 angstroms to a wavelength of 7700 angstroms


a. : the light of the sun : daylight

was up each morning at the first light — Frank O'Connor

b. : dawn

3. : a specific material source of light: as

a. : a heavenly body

as night fell the lights in the sky multiplied

b. : candle

put a light in the window

c. : electric lamp

turned on all the lights in the house

4. archaic : eyesight

when I consider how my light is spent ere half my days in this dark world — John Milton


a. : spiritual illumination that is a divine attribute or the embodiment of divine truth

the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it — Jn 1:5 (Revised Standard Version)

Jesus is the light — Eliza E. Hewitt

Celestial Light, shine inward — John Milton

b. : inner light

c. : ultimate truth : enlightenment

reaching out and groping for a pathway to the light — B.N.Cardozo

d. : a doctrine or set of beliefs representing true Christianity — used especially in Scotland in the phrases old light and new light


a. : open view : public knowledge

brought to light languages that were hitherto practically unknown — A.V.W.Jackson

b. : a particular aspect or appearance presented to view

an accused person's own testimony may put him in a very bad light before the jury — Telford Taylor

every owner saw his dogs in the best light — W.F.Brown b. 1903


a. : a source or measure of light considered by a person as necessary for his vision and as properly belonging to him

asked him not to stand in her light

b. : a particular or restricted illumination

this studio has a north light

this room has poor light

light of the fire


(1) : the natural light unobstructed by a building or wall

(2) : a legal right to have natural unobstructed light

(3) : ancient light

8. : intellectual illumination : something that enlightens or informs

throw considerable light on some of the problems that now confront us in the U.S. — J.B.Conant

could proudly take his light from such unembarrassed conservatism — Eric Goldman

9. : a medium through which light is admitted: as

a. : window , windowpane

b. : skylight

c. : a glass compartment in the roof or wall of a greenhouse

10. lights plural : a person's stock of information or ideas : philosophy of life : standards

the attitude that one should worship according to one's lights — Adrienne Koch

tried to make him behave himself according to English lights — G.B.Shaw

11. : a conspicuous or dominant person in a particular country, place, or field of endeavor : luminary

one of the leading lights of the French court — R.A.Hall b. 1911

the leading and lesser lights of United States diplomacy — Time

some literary light from the book world — Arthur Miller

12. : a particular look or aspect of the eye

an ugly light came into his eye — Gretchen Finletter

listened with a fiery light burning in her eyes — Sherwood Anderson


a. : a source of light used as a signal: as

(1) : lighthouse

the keeper of the Eddystone Light

(2) : a ship's blinker light

called the flagship on the light to announce she was reporting for duty

(3) : traffic signal

turn left at the next light

b. : a signal especially of a traffic light

stopped by a red light

given the green light to go ahead with his plan

14. : something that gives life or individuality to a person : vital spark

hide his light under a bushel

the light of individual human character shining through these events — Leslie Rees


a. : a quality of animation, brilliance, or intensity

a man of deep shadows and dazzling light — O.S.J.Gogarty

almost any crowd shows higher lights than this one — Katherine F. Gerould


(1) : the part of a picture that represents those objects or areas upon which the light is supposed to fall — opposed to shade ; compare chiaroscuro

(2) : the part of a work of sculpture that provides a reflecting surface for light

16. : a flame or spark by which something (as a cigarette, cigar, or pipe) may be lighted

took out a cigarette and asked him for a light

17. : lightface

18. lights plural

a. : footlights

b. : an illuminated display of a performer's name on a theater marquee

dreamed of seeing her name in lights

- in the light of

II. adjective

( usually -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English liht, light, from Old English lēoht, līht; akin to Old Frisian liacht bright, Old Saxon & Old High German lioht bright, Old English lēoht, n., light — more at light I


a. archaic : burning brightly : blazing — used of fire

piled those ancient books together and set them all on a light fire — John Jortin

b. : having light : bright

the rooms are airy and light

still light when he arrived


a. : having a high lightness of color

though her hair was dark, she had light eyes

b. : having a light complexion

lighter than his brother

III. verb

( lighted -īd.ə̇d, -ītə̇d ; or lit ˈlit, usu -id.+V ; lighted or lit ; lighting ; lights )

Etymology: Middle English lihten, lighten, from Old English lȳhtan, līhtan, līehtan; akin to Old Saxon liohtian to light, Old High German liuhten, Gothic liuhtjan; causative-denominative from the root of English light (II)

1. now dialect : to emit light : be burning

the two candles … were still lighting — Eamonn O'Neill

2. : to become filled with light : brighten — usually used with up

people light up when he speaks with or to them — E.K.Lindley

his face lit up at the small triumph — W.J.McKee


a. : to become ignited : take fire

the match lights easily

b. : to ignite something (as a cigarette, cigar, or pipe) — usually used with up

a small yellow flame flickered where a smoker was lighting up — A.P.Gaskell

transitive verb

1. : to set fire to : cause to burn : ignite , kindle

lit a cigarette

struck a match and lighted the lamp — Ellen Glasgow

— sometimes used with up

light up a cigarette


a. : to attend or conduct with or as with a light : guide

all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death — Shakespeare

b. : to give light to : fill with light or furnish with lights : illuminate

the chapel … lit by a three-light east window — Country Life

— often used with up

light up the sky

c. : to cause to glow : animate , brighten

a quick animation lit her face — Clarissa F. Cushman

— often used with up

one shining smile lit up the whole place for me — Margaret Biddle

- light a shuck

IV. adjective

( usually -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English liht, light, from Old English lēoht, līht; akin to Old High German līhti light, Old Norse lēttr, Gothic leihts, Latin levis light, Greek elachys small, Sanskrit laghu, raghu fast, light, slight


a. : having little weight : not heavy

light enough for even a very small child to manage alone — Betty Pepis

b. : less heavy than others of its kind

a light overcoat

a light log

c. : designed to move swiftly or to carry a comparatively small load

a light truck

a light airplane

d. : being of small specific gravity : having relatively little weight in proportion to bulk

light as a feather

aluminum is a light metal

e. : containing less than the legal, standard, or usual weight

light coin


a. : of slight extent or little importance : trivial

shows the lightest incidence and intensity of infection — J.H.Fischthal

attests in what light esteem we held the tank — S.L.A.Marshall

b. : not abundant : inconsiderable

a light rain

the early voting was light

trading on the commodity exchange was light

has relatively light traffic and few billboards — American Guide Series: Maryland

a light breakfast



(1) : not oppressive : easily broken or disturbed

a light and fitful sleep

(2) : easily aroused : not weighed down by sleep

a light sleeper

b. : barely moving or existing : exerting a minimum of force or pressure : gentle

a light touch

a light breeze

that light irregular breathing — Aldous Huxley

c. : resulting from a very slight pressure : faint , indistinct

a light impression

a light stroke of the pen

the print was too light to read


a. : capable of being borne : easily endurable

a light illness

a light misfortune

b. : able to be performed with little effort : demanding comparatively little energy or strength

contributed to the family income by doing light work — M.S.Kendrick

5. : capable of moving or acting swiftly and dexterously : nimble

although her hands were old and often tremulous, they were light at whatever they performed — Elizabeth M. Roberts

a healthy stout man in a hurry, light on his feet — Glenway Wescott

6. now Scotland : delivered of a child — used always in the comparative


a. : showing a lack of seriousness : frivolous , giddy

had forfeited by his light conduct and his intemperate opinions — Ellen Glasgow

light stories, risky anecdotes were discouraged — Gamaliel Bradford

b. : lacking in stability or steadiness : fickle , changeable

a light man, in whom no person can place any confidence — W.E.H.Lecky

c. : sexually promiscuous : wanton

their thoughts strayed to light women — John Steinbeck

8. : free from care : not burdened by suffering : buoyant , cheerful

more pleased and light of mind than she had been — W.M.Thackeray

9. : intended to amuse and entertain : demanding little mental effort of the reader, listener, or spectator

one generation's light reading often becomes another's heavy text — J.D.Hart

standard light ballet music — inoffensive until it overdoes the waltz — Arthur Berger

10. of a beverage

a. : having a comparatively low alcoholic content

light wines and beers

b. : having a low concentration of flavoring congenerics : characterized by a relatively mild flavor : not heavy


a. : capable of being easily digested

a light soup

b. : well leavened : not soggy or heavy

light bread

c. : full of air : fluffy

well beaten eggs make a light omelet

a light soufflé

12. : lightly armed or equipped

a fairly light cavalry, not fully armored — Tom Wintringham

13. : easily pulverized : loose , porous

a light soil


a. of the head : having a sensation of lightness or instability : dizzy , giddy , disordered

b. now dialect Britain : light in the head : light-headed , giddy

he's a bit light since his accident

15. : carrying a small cargo or none at all : not heavily burdened

the ship returned light

16. : characterized by a relatively small capital investment and the use of relatively simple machinery and usually devoted to the production of consumer goods

moving into the lighter industries like furniture manufacture — Sam Pollock

17. : not heavy or massive in construction or appearance

despite its size, the building is light and graceful


a. of a syllable : unaccented , weak — contrasted with heavy

b. : designating the second-strongest of the three degrees of stress recognized by some linguists

the stress on the last syllable of “basketball” is light

c. of a vowel : articulated without raising of the back of the tongue

the front vowels and ä are light

— compare dark

d. of an l sound : clear 2b

19. of sound : having a clear usually soft and airy quality without heaviness

afraid that she would ruin her small light voice if she persisted in singing heavy operatic music — Current Biography

20. of poultry : losing weight — see going light

21. : of, relating to, or containing atoms of normal mass or less than normal mass — used of isotopes

deuterium has twice the mass of ordinary light hydrogen atoms

22. of a domino : having a comparatively small number of pips

the 6-3 is lighter than the 6-6

23. : being in debt to the pot in a poker game

three chips light

Synonyms: see easy

V. adverb

( usually -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English lihte, lighte, light, from Old English lēohte, līhte, from lēoht, līht, adjective

: in a light manner : lightly

experienced campers travel light — Boy Scout Handbook

— often used in combination

light -clad

light -loaded

VI. verb

( lighted or lit ; lighted or lit ; lighting ; lights )

Etymology: Middle English lihten, lighten, from Old English līhtan, līohtan; akin to Old Frisian līchta to lighten, Middle Dutch lichten, Old High German līhten; causative-denominative from the root of English light (IV)

intransitive verb

1. : to climb downward (as from a horse) : dismount — now usually used with down

every time he lit down from his saddle — W.F.Harris

2. : to descend on a surface : fall to the ground : perch , settle

laying waste every foot of the field they lighted in — O.E.Rölvaag

3. : to come down suddenly : fall unexpectedly (as of a blow, good fortune, or bad fortune) — usually used with on or upon

when he got that far … Nemesis lit on him — Elmer Davis

4. : to come or arrive by chance : happen — usually used with on or upon

lighted upon the lonely spot quite by accident — Lady Barker

5. now dialect Britain

a. : to come to pass : occur by chance

b. : to experience good or bad fortune or success : fare — often used with on

transitive verb

1. archaic : to ease of a burden or load : lighten

light this weary vessel of her load — Edmund Spenser

2. now dialect England : to deliver of a child

3. : haul , move

light the sail out to windward — G.S.Nares

- light into

VII. adjective

or lite

: made with a lower calorie content or with less of some ingredient (as salt or fat) than usual

light beer

light margarine

light salad dressing

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.