Main definitions of light in English

: light1light2light3


Video: a look at light


  • 1mass 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’
    • ‘The plants were grown in natural light with no supplementary lighting.’
    • ‘I wanted to sleep a little longer, but the faint light of the sun had awakened me.’
    • ‘This is another good time to walk outside and expose yourself to some natural light.’
    • ‘Einstein used Planck's quantum hypothesis to describe the electromagnetic radiation of light.’
    • ‘LEDs are made of semiconductor chips and emit light when a current passes through them.’
    • ‘The large garden around the swimming pool shone in the glimmering light of many multicolored candles.’
    • ‘In the village the fields were being turned, and men and women worked in the damp soil from light to dusk.’
    • ‘Stockholm is beautiful in the mornings, the golden light glinting off the buildings.’
    • ‘Look at them at different times of the day, and in both natural and incandescent light.’
    • ‘Dark clothes don't glow because the dark pigments absorb the UV light.’
    • ‘We really do not know what would happen to time when an object passes the speed of light.’
    • ‘The sun was setting low, casting a dull orange light in the sky.’
    • ‘He had carried out research into light and how it interacts with atoms.’
    • ‘In that case, what you need to know before choosing when to take your picture is that the colour of light changes throughout the day.’
    • ‘The light from a nearby street lamp paints her face a garish yellow.’
    • ‘The abstract representations are also a reflection of the artist's mastery over colour and light.’
    • ‘Normally, water in the distance is seen by its ability to reflect light off of its surface.’
    • ‘She rose to her feet and passed into the light of the full moon.’
    • ‘The garden was lit only by the light of the moon and all was silent.’
    • ‘The windows were ablaze with light, the heavy wooden doors still open.’
    illumination, brightness, luminescence, luminosity, shining, gleaming, gleam, brilliance, radiance, lustre, glowing, glow, blaze, glare, dazzle
    daylight, light of day, natural light, sunlight
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1count noun A source of illumination, especially an electric lamp.
      ‘a light came on in his room’
      • ‘With only the ceiling lights for illumination, the soldier couldn't tell the time of day.’
      • ‘The aircraft took off in the dark with the runway illuminated by truck lights.’
      • ‘We didn't have a bathroom or electric power or lights and things until I was about 17 years old.’
      • ‘Everything is brightly lit once the UV lights are turned on.’
      • ‘The huge primary lights in the ceiling were darkened but the scattered emergency lights gave some illumination.’
      • ‘The police also found a fluorescent light, a grow lamp, ballast, and thermometer.’
      • ‘Shadows, cast by the trees blocking the porch light outside the windows, dance over the coffee table.’
      • ‘When illuminated with electric lights or candles, the pumpkins radiate the same muted colors as stained-glass windows.’
      • ‘Fluorescent lights or special grow lamps also work if left on about 14 to 16 hours per day.’
      • ‘After a few days without lights, electric heat or TV, your stress level shoots through the roof.’
      • ‘Down the street, a solitary porch light flickered and called out to him.’
      • ‘Andy turned out the lights in the room and got into bed.’
      • ‘The car's lights went off and only enhanced the feeling of shadow.’
      • ‘I could see red, white and blue strobe lights flashing all along the water on the Manhattan side.’
      • ‘When Pete flicks out the electric lights, we are plunged into inky darkness and ringing silence.’
      • ‘She moved quietly to her front porch where the light was turned on for her.’
      • ‘Hang paper chains or other decorations well away from lights or any other source of heat.’
      • ‘The city's lights lit up the skyline and created an almost magical glow.’
      • ‘The tunnel is quite elaborate, too, with electric lights and reinforced walls.’
      • ‘There was an electric light at the top of the staircase but there was no bulb in it at the time of the accident.’
      lamp, torch, flashlight
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2lights Decorative illuminations.
      ‘Christmas lights’
      • ‘Backed by a sensational new lights, projection and laser show, The Australian Pink Floyd Show are truly stunning.’
      • ‘And as the midnight hour approached, the tall ships decorated with tiny lights turned with the crowds towards the Harbour Bridge.’
      • ‘For the past couple of years, the appearance of Christmas lights and festive decorations has heralded the arrival of a weighty travel anthology.’
      • ‘All the shops are full of Christmas spirit and the lights and decorations are beautiful.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Winston walked past me in the den with a giant cardboard box full of Christmas lights that he took outside.’
      • ‘At one end of the temple room there was a white coffin decorated with neon flashing lights and flowers.’
      • ‘Church bells, laser lights, fireworks and a town crier announced the beginning of the festive season in Leigh.’
      • ‘If it is any consolation, it gave me time to admire the decorative lights put up by some people in their homes and gardens.’
      • ‘As the SUV jeep slowly pulled into traffic Christmas lights glittered in the night for Christmas morning.’
      • ‘The builders, Deeks and Steere plc of Godalming, had hung lights outside the church to add to the festive spirit.’
      • ‘As the sun sets on the skyscrapers, neon lights hug the outsides of the buildings, making the skyline look as impressive at night as it does during the day.’
      • ‘A rising star in classical music is to perform in Bolton at the Christmas lights switch-on.’
      • ‘Fairy lights were switched on and music played.’
      • ‘Both cottages were beautifully decorated with festive lights and welcome home banners last Thursday morning before the group arrived.’
      • ‘Huge neon lights decorated the outside and, in many different colors, advertised the many different games inside the casino.’
      • ‘When we got to school, they had the cafeteria all decorated up with lights and balloons.’
      • ‘Cubes, stars, lanterns and chilli peppers - decorative lights aren't just for Christmas.’
      • ‘Decorative neon lights in business districts are being turned off in order to save enough power for production or air conditioning.’
      • ‘Good use was also made of neon lights, phosphorescent glow sticks, reflectors, fiber optics, and a thumping dance floor.’
    3. 1.3usually lightscount noun A traffic light.
      ‘turn right at the lights’
      • ‘Queuing traffic at the numerous lights in and around the High Street creates more congestion.’
      • ‘Sadly, over one year after the lights were restored the traffic situation has not improved.’
      • ‘The look, of course, was no big deal, but the preposterous wheelspinning start as the lights went green certainly was.’
      • ‘Imagine the flow of traffic without lights and signs.’
      • ‘Not satisfied with that, they then put in more lights, making more traffic snarls.’
      • ‘Imagine his surprise when traffic coming through the lights headed straight for him.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Another plan includes installation of signal lights at some junctions on the ring roads.’
      • ‘Maybe it's just difficult for them to control the horses in Central London, and that's why the guy jumped the light.’
      • ‘With a lights controlled junction at Feehily's corner this would make things safer for both vehicles and pedestrians.’
    4. 1.4 The amount or quality of light in a place.
      ‘the plant requires good light’
      count noun ‘in some lights she could look beautiful’
      • ‘This plant is an annual that is easy to start from seed and is not fussy about soil or light.’
      • ‘It's a very frightening place that has been designed to have no natural light.’
      • ‘The main bedroom is to the rear of the house and is quite spacious with plenty of light from a large dormer window.’
      • ‘The cramped room was dark and gloomy, a faint stream of gentle light streaming through the grimy window.’
      • ‘Large sky-lights draw in enough natural light to ensure the room remains bright and sunny.’
      • ‘On entering this vast sanctum, one is immediately struck by the quality of space and light.’
      • ‘Domestic buildings do not need a lot of light but buildings where people work need to be well lit.’
      • ‘I resume my watch but the light is failing so I exchange my camera for my rifle.’
      • ‘The deer can look black in some lights and have a white rump.’
      • ‘With one side of the room completely dedicated to windows, there is good natural light.’
      • ‘She narrowed her dark eyes in the strong light, and turned around to go back to the main street.’
      • ‘What faint light was in the room was extinguished as pure blackness engulfed her.’
      • ‘His eyes were grey; they just looked brown in certain lights.’
      • ‘Daffodils require very bright light, such as that found in a greenhouse, to flower well.’
      • ‘On the walls were mirrors which reflected what little natural light came through the portholes around the room.’
      • ‘The main reception area has an open plan living/dining room which has a good deal of natural light.’
      • ‘She feared the new houses on the school site would block light to her bungalow and invade her privacy.’
      • ‘To the left, the living room faces the front garden and gets plenty of natural light.’
      • ‘It was a small space with a narrow vertical slit window which admitted some natural light.’
      • ‘We get fluorescent desklamps to compensate for the lack of natural light - and boy, do they make up for it!’
    5. 1.5Law The light falling on the windows of a house.
      • ‘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.’
  • 2in singular An expression in someone's eyes indicating a particular emotion or mood.

    ‘a shrewd light entered his eyes’
    • ‘No words could describe that feeling of supreme joy at seeing the light in her eyes.’
    • ‘She seemed very pale and weak, the light from her eyes, gone.’
    • ‘His features softened when he saw her, though there was no light of recognition in his eyes.’
    • ‘She had a very soft beauty to her, but she had a fierce light in her eyes.’
    • ‘There was a new light in his eye that Adriane had never seen, a vengeful, vicious emotion.’
    1. 2.1lights A person's opinions, standards, and abilities.
      ‘leaving the police to do the job according to their lights’
      • ‘He was, by his lights at least, honest with me.’
      • ‘It seems to me that they were a state, but they had a legal system which, according to their lights, was divinely ordained.’
      • ‘The good of human freedom, by European lights, must be weighed against the risk and cost of actually fighting for it.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
  • 3mass noun Understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment.

    ‘she saw light dawn on the woman's face’
    • ‘Here, most tellingly, the study misses the light shed by new Western studies.’
    • ‘The light of knowledge characterises John's spiritual development and devotion to God.’
    • ‘His experience, and that of others, deserve to have light shed on them.’
    • ‘I found you on the net, and hope you may give some light to this mystery for me!’
    • ‘He was very confused, but then, when light dawned, he took much glee in pointing out I'd paid the exact same amount as I would have before my haggling.’
    • ‘The light of knowledge is necessary to expel this demon of ignorance, he says.’
    • ‘For our part we have to accept that there is no particular light shed on the matters in issue from it.’
    • ‘Both of them would be happy if someone could shed the light onto the mystery behind their child.’
    aspect, angle, slant, approach, interpretation, viewpoint, standpoint, context, point of view, vantage point
    understanding, enlightenment, illumination, comprehension, insight, awareness, knowledge, elucidation, explanation, clarification, edification
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Spiritual illumination by divine truth.
      • ‘We all can trust in the words of the Lord as he brings hope in place of despair and light in place of darkness.’
      • ‘The fog and deep darkness of my brain are slowly clearing and giving way to a little spiritual light.’
      • ‘It is not that we are illuminated by the divine light, but that the truth we grasp is illuminated.’
      • ‘Let the light of the Spirit fill your heart today with the goodness and glory of God.’
      • ‘The light of the divine shines everywhere, and has no gender, and has no single pronoun, and has no one image.’
      • ‘They believed this to be a natural power of the soul, realized as it gradually opens itself to divine light and truth.’
      • ‘Some of Christ's sufferings were a consequence of the ineffable divine light granted to him.’
      • ‘The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.’
      • ‘But if we resist God's Spirit of light and mercy, we are promised the rod of correction.’
      • ‘May God grant new gospel light to this spiritually deprived nation!’
      • ‘At the moment I am only on the first steps of Buddhism but I see it as the only light in a very confusing world.’
      • ‘At emergence, the seeker may reconstruct the ego under the Will, that the ego will in totality reflect the true light.’
  • 4An area of something that is brighter or paler than its surroundings.

    ‘sunshine will brighten the natural lights in your hair’
    • ‘My uncle turns, glances at me, the sun from behind the clouds casting lights and darks across his lean face.’
    • ‘Squint your eyes and see the landscape as a series of shapes, lights and darks, as opposed to seeing every detail.’
    • ‘The hanging lantern caught the lights in his blond hair.’
  • 5A device used to produce a flame or spark.

    ‘he asked me for a light’
    • ‘I was nervous and when I get nervous I smoke - too bad I didn't have a light.’
    match, lighter, cigarette lighter, flame, spark, source of fire
    View synonyms
  • 6A window or opening to let light in.

    ‘the bedroom has a wide bay with leaded lights’
    • ‘The opening casements were also taped along the junction between the casement and the opening light.’
    • ‘This must be the upper light or lights of a third window, at the back of the room, adjacent to the back wall.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 6.1 A perpendicular division of a mullioned window.
      • ‘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.’
    2. 6.2 A pane of glass forming the roof or side of a greenhouse or the top of a cold frame.
      • ‘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’
    • ‘He had made other mistakes over the years, but he also had been one of the bright and shining lights of college sports.’
    • ‘He said Mandisi has always been a shining light and brought understanding and laughter to their lives.’
    • ‘New cap Scott MacLeod is one of Scotland's bright young lights, but Gray fails to shine.’
    • ‘One of Canada's brightest lights has passed away.’
    expert, authority, master, leader, guru
    View synonyms
  • 8British (in a crossword puzzle) a blank space to be filled by a letter.

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


[with object]
  • 1Provide with light or lighting; illuminate.

    ‘the room was lit by a number of small lamps’
    ‘lightning suddenly lit up the house’
    • ‘Sets are very minimalist but lit to good effect.’
    • ‘And the art, hung here and there and lit in one case by lamplight, was a hodgepodge of styles.’
    • ‘It's cramped, poorly stocked and somehow dimly lit.’
    • ‘Old Masters, though, are usually hung on a tastefully restrained backdrop and lit as close to daylight as can be managed.’
    • ‘We were both watching TV, the pictures brightly lighting the dark living room.’
    • ‘The band treated the crowd to some of their greatest hits and was made even more special when a fireworks display lit up the sky behind them.’
    • ‘The pool hall was smoky and lit only by a few flickering light bulbs.’
    • ‘She switched on the power, a bright, green glow lighting up the screen.’
    • ‘We walked for an hour until we were in a large room, lighted by a hole in the ceiling.’
    • ‘The neighborhood was quiet and dim, lit only by a few street lights.’
    • ‘The full moon lit up the pond so that I could perfectly see my reflection.’
    • ‘Extra decorations have lit up the city like never before.’
    • ‘Our eyes widened when a flash of lightning lit up the sky and illuminated the dark figure.’
    • ‘It was night but the moon was full so everything was lit up and reflected.’
    • ‘Silhouetted passers-by walk away from us as the singer steps forward, brilliantly lit, sometimes looking at us sometimes away.’
    • ‘Both the other ballets were two-piano scores, played on stage and lit so that only the pianists' profiles were visible.’
    • ‘The night climb is stark affair, halogen lights casting deep black shadows on every part of the cliff face that isn't brilliantly lit.’
    • ‘The dining room was dark and cold and only lighted by a candle or two.’
    • ‘The hallway, lit with sunlight from both ends, was serenely quiet.’
    • ‘The room beyond was lighted from within by the wavering yellow glow of candles.’
    1. 1.1 Switch on (an electric light)
      ‘only one of the table lamps was lit’
      • ‘It was peaceful, the street lights were lit and the only noise that could be heard was a dog barking in the distance.’
      • ‘In later years insurance companies forced the removal of the old candelabras and these were replaced with little electric lights, lighted by a button.’
      • ‘As he flicked the switch to light the brightly coloured bulbs, an enormous cheer went up from onlookers.’
      • ‘Edwards lost a truck race because he slowed when the caution light was lit accidentally.’
    2. 1.2with 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We took off our sandals, and two of the men carried burning torches to light our way.’
      • ‘As night fell, a full moon rose and lit my way back into the landscape, where I sat on top of the hill and contemplated how lucky I was.’
      make bright, brighten, illuminate, make brighter, lighten, cast light on, shed light on, throw light on, shine on, irradiate, flood with light, floodlight
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3light upno object Become illuminated.
      ‘the sign to fasten seat belts lit up’
      • ‘The horizon lights up all around you, flickering and pulsating, white, blue and green hues of light, constantly moving up and down, changing shape.’
      • ‘I've got a novelty mini-Beverly Hillbillies television set that lights up and plays the theme song when you push a button.’
      • ‘Suddenly, the forest lit up as five bolts of white lightning rained down from the sky.’
      • ‘There was a long silence and inside of me a spark of hope lit up brightly.’
      • ‘This limited production L.E.D. watch lights up brighter than any other watch available.’
      • ‘The switchboard lit up for the Brighton area and people claimed that the devil had come to Earth to kill them all.’
      • ‘I stared blankly at the PC screen, waiting for it to light up.’
      • ‘In the darkening light, street lamps began to light up and windows glowed with indoor illumination.’
      • ‘The street lamps and signs lit up suddenly as it got a little bit darker.’
      • ‘The night sky would light up; there was a bright white glow every time the lightning surged through the clouds.’
      • ‘Drawing power from the battery, the screen lit up brightly, illuminating everything by it.’
      • ‘Suddenly, the sky lit up, and a single white lightning bolt shot down towards the general.’
      • ‘The bridge around them now lit up brightly as a globe of sunlight surrounded her.’
      • ‘As we walked by, the tree suddenly lit up in a blaze of colored lights.’
      • ‘Tyra flicked the switch on the wall by the door and suddenly the room lit up with a warm yellowish glow.’
      • ‘Andrew immediately got to his feet to catch up with me as I entered the hall, now brightly lit 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
      View synonyms
  • 2Make (something) start burning; ignite.

    ‘Alan gathered sticks and lit a fire’
    ‘a lit cigarette’
    • ‘He pulled out a cigarette, lit it, and walked away from the fire, through the village, and into the forest.’
    • ‘They line up for hours to pray at the grotto, drink the water, light candles and take photographs.’
    • ‘He then pulled out his cigarette, and lit it, and held his pack out for her to take one.’
    • ‘Word is now that they're lighting buildings on fire, but I can't confirm that.’
    • ‘Leaning back in the bow, mountains rising across the lake behind him, Pete lights a cigarette and passes it down to Jonathan.’
    • ‘She's lighting the Chanukah candles for those of us who can't get home by sundown.’
    • ‘Once he's shot off about a dozen he switches to firecrackers, first lighting one to give us the idea and then setting off a string of fifty.’
    • ‘Almost every month my neighbour has a bonfire: last Friday at 9.15 pm he lit one.’
    • ‘I lit my scented candles, dimmed the lights, and tucked into my new book.’
    • ‘They had a load of cigarettes and they lit a fire, deciding to stay there for the night.’
    • ‘He ran his hand through his raven black hair and then lit his cigarette.’
    • ‘He lit a further cigarillo, coughing glutinously as he did so.’
    • ‘He lit a few candles around the room and then he shut off the lights.’
    • ‘Dad would trudge on to the lawn with a tin of fireworks, dashing back to safety after lighting each one as if a Pompeii-scale eruption were imminent.’
    • ‘His sightless eyes looked almost black in the shadows cast by the candle he had lit.’
    • ‘Be careful when lighting alcohol on fire: make sure that the stove top is clean and that there are no flammable materials hanging about.’
    • ‘After the ceremony attached to lighting the candle, Come O Come Emmanuel was sung by a member of the Club.’
    • ‘We both lit our Bic lighters as if we were at a Grateful Dead concert.’
    • ‘He lighted what would be the first of many cigars.’
    • ‘Wordlessly, she took a seat around the bonfire she had lit earlier.’
    set alight, set light to, set burning, set on fire, set fire to, put a match to, set a match to, ignite, kindle, burn, spark, spark off, fire, touch off, start, torch
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1no object Begin to burn; be ignited.
      ‘the gas wouldn't light properly’
      • ‘It took three goes to get the cigarette to light, as my hands were shaking.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2light 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’
      • ‘How often have you been walking behind someone, before suddenly finding yourself engulfed in smoke because the person in front has lit up?’
      • ‘I find it rude when someone lights up during a meal, they could simply walk outside or wait till the meal is finished.’
      • ‘Amber looked on in disgust as Kira lit up.’
      • ‘He fished a pipe out of his pocket, lit it up, and began to smoke.’
      • ‘I sat down in the smoking section of a café, in front of a young couple with a kid (who were also in the Smoking area) and lit up.’
      • ‘Though smoking was banned he lit up regardless and a fire broke out.’
      • ‘She got out her last cigarette and lit it up as she walked away.’
      • ‘There is nothing worse than being in a cosy little restaurant, enjoying wonderful food, and then somebody lights up and blows that acrid smoke in your direction.’
      • ‘I pulled out a cigarette from my handbag and lit it up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Fire chiefs are warning the smoking ban may result in a rise in the number of house fires as more people light up at home.’


  • 1Having a considerable or sufficient amount of natural light; not dark.

    ‘the bedrooms are light and airy’
    • ‘The closer one is to the North Pole, the longer the dark or light period is.’
    • ‘If it is sufficiently light outside to tell a white thread from a black thread then one should be fasting.’
    • ‘The house is light and airy with lots of glazing and three balconies on three levels let the garden come into the house.’
    • ‘The octagonal house is light and airy, with wraparound verandas, a small pool and nothing between you and the South Pole.’
    • ‘The seeds were then grown in vermiculite at 30°C under dark or light conditions.’
    • ‘Install exterior lights that automatically come on when it gets dark and go off when it's light.’
    • ‘Albert proudly opened the front door and Betty and I walked into a large, light hallway.’
    • ‘As soon as it gets light enough out there, I'll take some pictures.’
    bright, full of light, well lit, well lighted, well illuminated, sunny, sunshiny, undimmed, brilliant
    View synonyms
  • 2(of a colour) pale.

    ‘her eyes were light blue’
    • ‘Don't take anything white or light coloured with you unless you are going on some luxury holiday somewhere.’
    • ‘The walls were a dark jade color here, the tile a light tan covered with crimson matting.’
    • ‘The vehicle involved, which had also been damaged, had been a light green or blue in colour, although the make or model was not known.’
    • ‘She carried a bouquet of light yellow roses, large daisies, chrysanthemums and blue campanulas.’
    • ‘The screen turned light purple and a single folder appeared in the middle of the screen.’
    • ‘The suspect was described only as a white man, in a light coloured short-sleeved shirt.’
    • ‘It was red, made from bright red bricks, and its roof was a light blue colour.’
    • ‘She was wearing a light rose pink jacket with a darker shade of pink knee-length skirt.’
    • ‘The colors she chooses lean more heavily to violet, light pink, green, black, silver and gold.’
    • ‘The streets of the city were cobble stones, and most of the buildings made of a light gray stone or wood.’
    • ‘She was tall, large in the stomach with light blonde hair and piercing eyes.’
    • ‘The person turned out to be a man in his thirties, with light yellow hair and brown eyes.’
    • ‘She was dressed in a casual pair of dark blue slacks and a light beige button down blouse tucked neatly in.’
    • ‘Fresh and light colours such as blue and green are widely seen in this theme.’
    • ‘The blouse was a light, delicate shade of pink, with a dark flower pattern covering it.’
    • ‘The girl herself was five feet six inches tall, slightly built, with light brown hair.’
    • ‘Mr Gibb said the animal had a sleek, muscular body, smooth fur and was possibly a light sandy colour.’
    • ‘The Bertons chose a light beige paint tied together with a white trim in most rooms.’
    • ‘Mr Davis plans to use a clean, light colour scheme throughout the pub and designate the left hand bar non-smoking.’
    • ‘He was wearing a black pair of sweatpants and a light gray shirt that showed off his well built muscles.’
    light-coloured, light-toned, pale, pale-coloured, pastel, pastel-coloured
    fair, light-coloured, blonde, golden, flaxen, yellow
    View synonyms


  • bring (or come) to light

    • Make or become widely known or evident.

      ‘no new facts came to light’
      • ‘The case is unusual in that his employers did not become aware of his conviction and that he was able to continue teaching for 19 years without the fact of the conviction coming to light.’
      • ‘The thefts only came to light when one customer noticed that money had been taken from her account without her knowledge.’
      • ‘Now new evidence has come to light that could mean the end of the forgery allegations.’
      • ‘But the families' main aim, a public inquiry, could ‘achieve transparency’ by bringing to light inquiry and investigation notes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Once all of the facts are brought to light, all judges will of course judge impartially.’
      • ‘Sometimes the existence of preceding results rediscovered by a researcher comes to light before his alleged discovery has been published.’
      • ‘We don't know what kind of evidence this prosecutor has brought to light.’
      • ‘So far he is not talking, but details from the police investigation are coming to light that suggest possible motives.’
      • ‘In fact, it's at this point in the album when a rather disturbing fact comes to light.’
      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
      View synonyms
  • go out like a light

    • informal Fall asleep or lose consciousness suddenly.

      ‘she returned to bed and went out like a light’
      • ‘I don't know if the rodent returned as I was so tired by this stage that I went out like a light.’
      • ‘Something hit the back of the trench and I went out like a light.’
      • ‘I can hear her breathing and going out like a light.’
      • ‘But last night, after everything was all packed up, and my bed frame dismantled, I just went out like a light.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every time a film clip came on - no matter how interesting or bizarre - I went out like a light, but she was too polite to comment.’
      • ‘He went out like a light a few minutes later, and Mia tiptoed out of the room.’
      • ‘He looked dazed for a minute and then went out like a light.’
      • ‘I hit this kid and he struck his head and went out like a light.’
      • ‘Maybe tomorrow, were her last thoughts before she went out like a light.’
  • in a — light

    • So as to give a specified impression.

      ‘the audit portrayed the company in a favourable light’
      • ‘Arguing that the U.S. is failing when the evidence seems ambiguous does not cast him in an attractive 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.’
      • ‘It's not the first time corporations have agreed to show their products in an uncomplimentary light.’
      • ‘All too often you're talking to two sides eager to portray themselves in a sympathetic light.’
      • ‘She claims, however, the book casts her in an unflattering light and has cost her her job and her reputation.’
      • ‘Am I the only one who sees this sport in an erotic light?’
      • ‘Nor does it stop one school being compared with another in an unfair light.’
      • ‘The incident cast the police in an ugly light and their brutality was questioned by many.’
      • ‘You know, it doesn't even show the military in an unflattering light, it's more warts-and-all kind of thing.’
      • ‘Even at this early stage we begin to see them in a different light.’
  • in the light of (or in light of)

    • Taking (something) into consideration.

      ‘the exorbitant prices are explainable in the light of the facts’
      • ‘Please note that the policy will be reviewed in the light of the many comments received on this’
      • ‘Planning applications should continue to be considered in the light of current policies.’
      • ‘In the light of my conclusion it is unnecessary to express an opinion on this argument.’
      • ‘Our task is to evaluate the ensuing legislation in the light of all these matters.’
      • ‘In light of what just happened they decided to miss the next lesson.’
      • ‘His position is becoming more untenable in the light of more revelations that have come out.’
      • ‘It is true that memories and past experiences often have to be reassessed in the light of new situations.’
      • ‘Still, in the light of subsequent events that night, it was a good job they upgraded me to a double room.’
      • ‘Those words were wiser than even he realised in the light of what was to happen a mere 20 years later.’
      • ‘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.’
      taking into consideration, considering, taking into account, bearing in mind, keeping in mind, mindful of, taking note of, in view of
      View synonyms
  • light and shade

    • 1The contrast between lighter and darker areas in a painting.

      • ‘And yet Vermeer seems willing to set down the areas of light and shade just as they occur.’
      • ‘His preference was for scenes of the great outdoors, painted in a vivid, dramatic style with strong contrasts of light and shade.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Avison also draws analogies between music and painting: both require a mixture of light and shade, foreground, middle ground and distance.’
      • ‘An art movie in both senses of the word, Girl With a Pearl Earring makes use of light and shade as judiciously as Jan Vermeer, whose painting of 1665 is the film's centrepiece.’
      • ‘Renoir used the Impressionist technique to great effect and this bustling street scene is brought alive by colour, light and shade.’
      1. 1.1The contrast between more and less intense emphatic treatment of something.
        ‘the sinfonietta players bring ample light and shade to the music’
        • ‘It's good to hear why they like particular songs, and it gives the shows quite a lot of light and shade because of their choices - and if they buy the box set, they can have their song filmed at the gig.’
        • ‘‘Judgement’ is an atmospheric and emotional work, musically balancing light and shade, metal riffs contrasting with delicate acoustic passages.’
        • ‘All this is neatly capped off with strong soulful vocals, tasty guitar work, and the light and shade of the band's rhythm section.’
        • ‘Director David Bintley has brought north three works of contrasting light and shade, style and vintage that add up to a superbly balanced programme.’
        • ‘Beautiful tone, assured phrasing, wonderful contrasts of light and shade, the players revelled in Haydn's ever-inventive musicality.’
  • 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’
      • ‘There is no light at the end of this awful dark, painful tunnel.’
      • ‘This has been a negative and stressful time for all concerned, but I can see a positive light at the end of the tunnel for sure.’
      • ‘We are able to work alone for long periods of time, if necessary, with no light at the end of the tunnel.’
      • ‘There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, but it is still a long way off yet.’
      • ‘I don't think there's a light at the end of the tunnel for baseball anytime soon.’
      • ‘It has, at times, been difficult but he can see a light at the end of the tunnel now.’
      • ‘They do not see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as their lives go.’
      • ‘One light at the end of the tunnel for taxi drivers has been the allocation of another taxi rank to be placed at Harmony Hill.’
      • ‘And with no light at the end of the tunnel, pressure on the government's Debt Management Office will grow.’
      • ‘People are feeling very hopeless and tired, and they really need to see the light at the end of the tunnel.’
  • the light of day

    • 1Daylight.

      ‘we sailed at the first light of day’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The bottom half of the composition shows crows frolicking in the light of day, on their scavenging hunt while busily cackling and gossiping to one another.’
      • ‘When a prisoner leaves his cell, he cannot bear the light of day - he is unable to discriminate colors, or recognize faces.’
      • ‘It was clear these animals had not seen the light of day for some time, judging by their reactions as they were carefully taken out, tagged and photographed by the ISPCA inspectors in charge of the operation.’
      • ‘The light of the Sun also energises your thoughts, which is why your thoughts can be so different at night and then in the light of day - and why they are so important as we now approach the Spring Equinox.’
      • ‘However, in and around the Grand Banquet Hall, Palace, and Fortress, by some ancient magic or feat of engineering, the streets were lit with the light of day.’
      • ‘We got the tree home in the light of day, we got it in the house, all went without a hitch, except I seemed to get a little pine sap in my eye.’
      • ‘During extensive subterranean explorations and investigations spanning a year and a half now, we have seen forgotten worlds, places that have never seen the light of day.’
      • ‘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.’
      1. 1.1General public attention.
        ‘bringing old family secrets into the light of day’
        • ‘Does Keighley hide some kind of weapons of mass destruction or is there some other secret that cannot bear the light of day?’
        • ‘Exposing your secret desire to the light of day takes away the irresistible allure, and with it, much of the temptation.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘I am continually surprised as more useless government departments are dragged out into the light of day to be displayed to the ever more annoyed populace.’
        • ‘It's the most honest thing I've ever written and where I come from honesty can always withstand the light of day.’
        • ‘If the state intends to put men to death, they have an obligation to do so in the light of day.’
        • ‘And once this is opened to the light of day, and people become aware of how the system works, they're not going to be satisfied.’
        • ‘But her sister, Caroline won't allow the secret to come into the light of day.’
        • ‘As soon as that is exposed to the light of day, the public will revolt against it.’
        • ‘You see, conservative rants cannot stand the light of day!’
  • see the light

    • 1Understand or realize something after prolonged thought or doubt.

      ‘he suddenly saw the light and realized he was going nowhere with United’
      • ‘Why, only when their side has been beaten, do they suddenly see the light?’
      • ‘For Montgomerie, it was suddenly seeing the light after being trapped in what seemed like an never ending tunnel on Thursday.’
      • ‘Every new recipe was different from the previous one, my head was starting to spin, when suddenly I saw the light.’
      • ‘I wish I could say that the experience helped me see the light and realize that I had misjudged the film.’
      • ‘In Joe's case, something shocking and life threatening has to happen before he suddenly sees the light.’
      • ‘As the natives get down to the business of getting even, the viciousness reverberates off the screen and suddenly we see the light.’
      • ‘You have made us see the light and we recognise that we're a bunch of bully boys who think we can get away with anything.’
      • ‘Prominent organizations have began to see the light more, and realize what kind of production prospects can give them.’
      • ‘Would it suddenly see the light and stop its bullying?’
      • ‘No doubt, this growing political isolation helped the IRA see the light…’
      understand, realize
      understand, comprehend, realize, find out, see daylight, work out what's going on, get the point
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Undergo religious conversion.
        • ‘We were sure that Roman Catholics would one day see the light and embrace the Protestant reforms.’
        • ‘It took a roots-up, religious-type conversion - I'd walked in darkness, then I saw the light.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘I once heard a Christian missionary claim that only ignorance of true trinitarian theology would prevent non-Christians from seeing the light and becoming baptized.’
  • see the light of day

    • 1Be born.

      • ‘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.’
      1. 1.1Begin to exist or to become publicly known or available.
        ‘this software first saw the light of day back in 1993’
        • ‘Protests were minimal and terrorist activity, if it existed, never saw the light of day.’
        • ‘What I'd love to do is help publish a volume of his short stories that haven't seen the light of day.’
        • ‘Without that right, important information that should be available to the public would never see the light of day.’
        • ‘In Saturday's edition of The British Medical Journal, there was a paper that many people in public health wish had never seen the light of day.’
        • ‘This song is taken from the Excellent album Soul Drums (Featuring Funky Donkey) released in 1968, but as far as I know it's never seen the light of day on CD.’
        • ‘Most labor publications don't even see the light of day outside of their local union.’
        • ‘Pioneering climber, explorer, and mapmaker Bradford Washburn has shot some of the most epic mountain photography of all time - much of which has never seen the light of day.’
        • ‘And somehow, in all his research, Marshall also missed this astonishing piece of news, which likewise has not seen the light of day before.’
        • ‘Prepared in 1999, and intended for public release, the report has never seen the light of day.’
        • ‘But let me tell you this: if nothing else I write sees the light of day, I won't care.’
  • 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’
      • ‘I've heard about the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, but this is the first article I've seen that casts light on how it works.’
      • ‘This type of information sheds light on the similarity of Cold War developments in both the United States and USSR.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There are going to be few reports coming out of there that will really shed light on how bad exactly it is.’
      • ‘Now a new poll sheds light on whether TV viewers are fed up with all the sex on television.’
      • ‘Police said they wanted to speak to a man seen in the area who might be able to shed light on what happened.’
      • ‘The questions at the heart of psychoanalysis - its promise to throw light on why we do the things we do, why we have trouble doing what we want to do, and why we suffer - continue to compel.’
      • ‘Det Sgt Morgan said he would welcome any information that would shed light on the incident.’
      • ‘It is believed the documents shed light on what ministers were told about the case during its long history.’
      explain, elucidate, clarify, clear up, give an explanation for, give an explanation of, offer an explanation for, offer an explanation of, make clear, make plain, interpret, comment on
      View synonyms
  • the light of one's life

    • A much loved person.

      ‘she was his only child, the light of his life’
      • ‘All I will say is that she is the light of my life and I am really happy.’
      • ‘I lost the light of my life, my buddy, my best friend.’
      • ‘He was really happy and the baby was the light of his life.’
      • ‘But if she was honest with herself, she had to admit that he wasn't exactly the light of her life.’
      • ‘She is - and always has been - the light of my life, and I feel so fortunate to have been graced by her love these past 40 years.’
      • ‘I have the most wonderful partner, the light of my life and the father of my baby.’
      • ‘My grandmother was my inspiration, the light of my life, the real reason my faith in God was still holding on.’
      • ‘JJ has given me a lifetime of love in a short time, and she is the light of my life.’
      • ‘Jen had been the joy, the pride, the light of my life for so long now.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Whenever you talk to them they always have that that empty, glazed over, look in their eyes; it's like you know the lights are on but nobody is home.’
      • ‘The bland expression on her face just looks like "the lights are on but nobody is at home"!’
      • ‘When it comes to "support" from these folks, as with so many other things, the lights are on but nobody's home.’
      • ‘What's up with Calvin's vacant "the lights are on but nobody's home" type stare.’
  • lights out

    • Bedtime in a school dormitory, military barracks, or other institution, when lights should be switched off.

      ‘a few minutes before lights out’
      • ‘A few minutes before lights out on the ship, Jessica walked up to Ian's door and knocked.’
      • ‘The older children, the over 16's, were allowed forty-five minutes more, before lights out at ten.’
      • ‘Bedtime around here is 10.30 pm, lights out at 11.’
      • ‘I only have one minute until lights out, so I'll explain tomorrow.’
      • ‘We had about twenty minutes before lights out every night.’
      • ‘So, he worked, counting down the minutes until lights out.’
      • ‘My mom says lights out in one minute, so I got to put you away.’
      • ‘The machine is in the bedroom as it's also a DVD player so we were able to watch this on Friday night before lights out!’
      • ‘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 officer locked them in and then left them, telling them it would be lights out in two minutes.’
  • lit up

    • dated, informal Drunk.

      ‘a lit-up Augustus should provide a spectacle which nobody ought to miss’
      • ‘She was flushed and sweaty and lit up on something.’

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’
      • ‘Her eyes light up and her face brightens as she recalls the events which have shaped a region.’
      • ‘My eyes lit up, this is really my life when it is working at its finest.’
      • ‘Three-year-old Evelyn North's eyes lit up at a bag of crisps, but she seemed distinctly disappointed with its contents.’
      • ‘His ragged tanned face lights up with laughter, remembering old ways and old mates, all long since passed, but still there to be savoured in his memory.’
      • ‘She turned her chair away from me and her face lit up.’
      • ‘It was the only time in his whole life an adult had ventured affection and a smile lit the usually wary, suspicious face.’
      • ‘Then, abruptly, the lines in his forehead disappeared and his eyes lit up with delight.’
      • ‘Her green eyes lit up, brightening her pretty face.’
      • ‘As Ron Whitelaw stood on top of 2,000 ft Grisedale Pike, a smile of satisfaction lit up his face.’
      • ‘The event brought obvious delight to the children as their faces lit up upon recognizing an inmate from previous meetings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Todd's face lit up in a full grin as he leaned over and pulled Rachel into a tight hug.’
      • ‘Danny's eyes briefly welled-up and a smile again lit up his face.’
      • ‘Audrey watched the exchange expectantly, a bright smile suddenly lighting up her entire face.’
      • ‘Mikey's eyes traveled over to the small car, instantly lighting up at the sight.’
      • ‘His eyes lit up, and he excitedly told me that in all his years of studying hypnotherapy, he'd never considered that.’
      • ‘They smiled brightly at the older boy, their eyes lighting up with excitement.’
      • ‘Her face lights up with a smile as she takes the baby in her arms.’
      • ‘Her family will always remember the big smile, which lit up her face.’


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’.




Main definitions of light in English

: light1light2light3



  • 1Of little weight; not heavy.

    ‘they are very light and portable’
    ‘light alloy wheels’
    ‘you're as light as a feather’
    • ‘She was happy for the light load, she wasn't sure if her back could handle any more books.’
    • ‘The large, sixteen-inch light alloy wheels add to the sporty dynamics of the car.’
    • ‘The end product has a high degree of stability as well as being light in weight.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, he wasn't exactly small or light enough to move easily.’
    • ‘Heavy or light, choose a weight that taxes you so that you approach failure at the end of each set.’
    • ‘Pigs have been bred to be fat or meaty, heavy or light, according to changing requirements at different periods.’
    • ‘They had the benefit of astonishingly light, strong bodies, so we needn't feel too ashamed about lagging so far behind.’
    • ‘Theyv'e commented on how methodically I pack the trolley, heavy stuff to the bottom, light stuff to the top.’
    • ‘At first she could walk for only six minutes on a treadmill, do four minutes on a rowing machine and lift a few light weights.’
    • ‘There is also a weight limit excluding people who are either too heavy or too light for the game.’
    • ‘No rifle that is light enough to carry will penetrate brush nor should it be expected to.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It comes with a lithium battery and AC adaptor and is light to carry.’
    • ‘It is confirmed the team are making only two stops, with the first part of the race driven on a light fuel load.’
    • ‘As the triceps is a very small muscle group, make sure you use a light weight, but do lots of repetitions.’
    • ‘He worked on light metal alloys and the electrolytic production of potassium and sodium.’
    • ‘The door gave way easily under her light bodyweight and Piper fell with a thud on the floor.’
    • ‘Royal Mail has said it wants to charge more for large but light items and less for small, heavy ones.’
    • ‘It was a shame that my body weight was still surprisingly light compared to the other teenagers.’
    • ‘You don't want to come home with a light suitcase and a heavy heart.’
    easy to lift, not heavy, weighing very little, lightweight
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Deficient in weight, especially by a specified amount.
      ‘the sack of potatoes is 5 kilos light’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2Not strongly or heavily built or made.

    ‘light, impractical clothes’
    ‘light armour’
    • ‘The main hazard of working on the streets is the cold - her light shoes are designed for the summer rather than bitter winter temperatures.’
    • ‘You'll only need a couple of sets of light clothes, so don't burden yourself down with luggage.’
    • ‘I settled down fully clothed under a light blanket and got into a good snoring rhythm.’
    • ‘It's cold enough for light woollens but not yet time to get into heavier clothing.’
    • ‘But as long as I have enough water to drink and light, loose clothes to wear, I'm sweaty but happy.’
    • ‘His trademark is ready to wear dresses that are light and suitable for any occasion.’
    • ‘It is a thin, light blanket with ties to attach to a poncho, to give the wearer extra warmth in the rain.’
    • ‘As I was dressed only in a light t-shirt, summer riding gloves, and jeans this was a bit of a cause for concern.’
    • ‘Also pack shorts and light clothes for the warm sparkling days that can also often be enjoyed in summer.’
    • ‘Their light summer shoes get wet during the day and then their feet freeze at night.’
    • ‘The tapestry is weaved from a mixture of light linen and heavy velvet and is sometimes translucent, often opaque.’
    • ‘He was walking in light footwear across his base camp on his way to the latrine.’
    • ‘She was clad in light metal armor, with a hood over her face.’
    • ‘It is fairly dry all the year round, and light footwear is adequate unless there has been heavy rain.’
    • ‘Even if you carry a light jacket with you its better than freezing that newly tanned skin.’
    • ‘They have chosen to shed their heavy armor for loose and light garments such as our own.’
    • ‘He was wearing light denim clothing, with nowhere to hide any explosives.’
    • ‘Anthropometric measurements were taken with participants wearing light clothes and no shoes or socks.’
    • ‘The light clothes which will do for summer need to be changed for serious woollens, hoods and gloves for the freezing winds of winter.’
    • ‘He realised that it would take more than the light armour which he had with him to do the work.’
    • ‘The men are in plain clothes and wear light raincoats or light overcoats over their uniforms.’
    flimsy, lightweight, insubstantial, thin
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Carrying or suitable for small loads.
      ‘light commercial vehicles’
      • ‘A light lorry and a jeep were hit by a blast, possibly from a roadside bomb, on a busy road west of the capital.’
      • ‘The year saw light truck production eclipse that of passenger cars in North America.’
      • ‘For starters, we could increase the fuel efficiency of our cars and light trucks to 40 miles per gallon.’
      • ‘I do know a pilot who saved himself a load of fuel in a light plane by flying along the front of them on the right day!’
      • ‘To reach the smaller islands you usually need to jump in a light aircraft.’
      • ‘They plan to be using it both as a light rail transport system and a tourist attraction.’
      • ‘A few cars, a few more red taxis and a light bus, yellow with a green top, drive on the right side of the road.’
      • ‘We should require auto makers to make cars, SUVs and light trucks that go farther on a gallon of gas.’
      • ‘The source population for study participants comprised drivers of light vehicles on public roads.’
      • ‘Two light goods vehicles were impounded and 1,800 litres of illicit oil seized.’
      • ‘Mrs Johnson said most of those not wearing a seatbelt were males driving work vans and light trucks.’
      • ‘I decided to go and check it out, thinking that possibly a light aircraft had got into trouble.’
      • ‘Light vans drive more safely with rain tyres too.’
      • ‘These motoring paparazzi have been known to use helicopters and light aircraft in pursuit of their prey.’
      • ‘The launcher was a simple open-frame device holding sixteen rockets and capable of being towed behind a light truck.’
      • ‘They were similar to the horses used for light carts and tradesmen's carts.’
      • ‘Part of Paul's work will involve travelling by light aircraft to visit parishioners on the different islands.’
      • ‘I had just missed some vehicles which were going to town and so I had to jump on a private light truck.’
      • ‘There are no roads and it can only be reached by light aircraft or a two-hour express boat ride from the nearest large town.’
      • ‘He said his father owned a light aircraft, which he was allowed to use.’
    2. 2.2 Carrying only light armaments.
      ‘light infantry’
      • ‘The army is on path to meet its future as a light armoured force, contrary to recent debate in the media.’
      • ‘Transportation of soldiers is another way mechanized forces can help light units.’
      • ‘In command of the light tanks, Patton headed a school and trained his tankers for combat.’
      • ‘Sniper units are similar to the light infantry units but they operate in smaller teams.’
      • ‘Traces of the modus operandi of the light infantry of old still live on amidst special forces such as the SAS.’
      • ‘Two light cruisers were being built in Italy but these were commandeered by the Italians in December 1941.’
      • ‘The new aircraft have a light armament capability and can be used for security or defensive operations as well as for training.’
      • ‘In December 1939 it was taken over by the Kriegsmarine and armed for use as a light escort and patrol boat.’
      • ‘For the most part these contingents have been based on a core component of light infantry.’
      • ‘The pace of light infantry is limited to the speed of a soldier on foot.’
      • ‘As a military reformer, Moore successfully developed light infantry tactics and training methods.’
      • ‘The Dover Barrage was a combination of nets, mines and searchlights, patrolled by light craft.’
    3. 2.3 (of a vehicle, ship, or aircraft) travelling unladen or with less than a full load.
      • ‘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.’
    4. 2.4 (of soil) friable, porous, and workable.
      • ‘Low rainfall and light soils of moderate fertility help control vine vigour and canopy here.’
      • ‘The African box thorn will grow on any soil, poor or rich, light or strong.’
      • ‘It tolerates salty conditions and actually prefers light, sandy soil, since it needs a supply of air to its roots.’
      • ‘Although the soil here is light, it is completely saturated and has held the water below the surface.’
      • ‘Sun is vital, so choose an open site on light soil with good drainage.’
      • ‘They also prefer a light sandy soil and maybe your clay is a bit heavy and wet for them.’
      friable, sandy, easily dug, workable
      View synonyms
    5. 2.5 (of an isotope) having not more than the usual mass; (of a compound) containing such an isotope.
      • ‘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.’
  • 3Relatively low in density, amount, or intensity.

    ‘passenger traffic was light’
    ‘light autumn rains’
    • ‘Since the main part of the Jacobite army never engaged the enemy, losses were relatively light.’
    • ‘The stars were out, and a light summer breeze teased my hair and brushed across my face.’
    • ‘I cycle to work the next day, through a light drizzle and heavy traffic.’
    • ‘There had been light snow showers earlier that morning when we took off for our first flight of the day.’
    • ‘Indeed, some very light breezes saw racing starting late and we bring you results of the first two races with results to be confirmed.’
    • ‘The rain was light, but heavy enough to make you cold and uncomfortable after a few minutes.’
    • ‘It could carry 118,000 barrels of light oil products such as gasoline and heating oil.’
    • ‘Traffic, now including vans, is using the minor road, which is only suitable for light traffic.’
    • ‘At worst, a light drizzle can be stomached, a little nip on the temperature can be endured - but nothing more extreme.’
    • ‘The following moisturiser is very light and gentle and suitable for all skin types.’
    • ‘When schools and university are on holiday, traffic is relatively light most of the time.’
    • ‘The valley is densely forested and lush; a light autumn snowfall dusts distant high peaks.’
    • ‘If you wake early enough, you can catch a solid hour of light breezes and a certain summer coolness.’
    • ‘We were at 700 feet and one and a half miles, with the visibility obscured by light fog.’
    • ‘But in the summer, a light body oil is also necessary to care for sun-drenched skin.’
    • ‘On Tuesday last Galway woke up to see all the motor vehicles covered with a light coating of brown sand.’
    • ‘He'd walked her home through the light, early summer rain that was falling on the city.’
    • ‘What started as a light shower grew so heavy that she and her daughter began to fear that the roof would cave in.’
    • ‘Personally I do not find it as good in heavy or light winds as the Lewis kites.’
    • ‘We had run into pretty light resistance, and we had pushed out a couple of thousand yards.’
    1. 3.1 (of sleep or a sleeper) easily disturbed.
      ‘I'm a light sleeper’
      ‘her sleep was light and fitful’
      • ‘I'm quite a light sleeper, so even my answering machine taking a message usually wakes me.’
      • ‘I'm normally a light sleeper, so it was a surprise that the husband was the first to notice this.’
      • ‘I've always been a light sleeper, but years of travel mean I can pretty much fall asleep anywhere.’
      • ‘Closing his eyes he fell into a light sleep, ready to awaken at the slightest noise.’
      • ‘She sat by his bed and watched him as he drifted in and out of a light, dreamless sleep.’
      • ‘She acknowledged his words with a nod, then drifted into a light sleep for a little while.’
      • ‘She was a very light sleeper and I had to be careful of how I moved, I had to be extremely quiet.’
      • ‘The loud, high pitched ring of the kitchen phone drove me from my light sleep on the black couch.’
      • ‘She easily fell into a light sleep, wanting to be able to wake up at the slightest sign of danger.’
      • ‘I am a fairly light sleeper, and do get woken very easily by sound.’
      • ‘Just as she had drifted into a light sleep, the cordless phone beside her rang, waking her.’
      • ‘Unconsciousness happens in this state, as well as light sleep states, where dreams and hallucinations occur.’
      • ‘You move out of deep sleep and into light sleep several times during the night, resulting in poor sleep quality.’
      • ‘Abbey drifted off, the warm sun and gently rippling water lulling her into a light sleep.’
      • ‘It took me an hour of tossing and turning that night to fall into a light sleep.’
      • ‘She slipped into a light sleep, where nothing was wrong, and no one could hurt her.’
      • ‘She closed her eyes and in a matter of seconds, she fell into a light sleep.’
      • ‘The city noises drifted him into a light sleep until the cab driver's voice awoke him.’
      • ‘Taking a deep breath and hoping that he wasn't a light sleeper, she knocked on his door.’
      • ‘She is a light sleeper and sleeping next to me does deprive her of what little sleep she does get.’
    2. 3.2 Easily borne or done.
      ‘he received a light sentence’
      ‘some light housework’
      • ‘Sentences in the UK are relatively light, averaging around nine months.’
      • ‘I figure he must think he's only going to get a light sentence and a bit of a fine.’
      • ‘She got a light sentence and I think the worst of her troubles are over.’
      • ‘The All Blacks enjoyed a day of light training today with key players carrying injuries.’
      • ‘This is giving a clear green light to burglars to commit this crime as they are more than likely to get a very light sentence or be put on a drug rehab programme.’
      • ‘Six years is a light sentence for taking another man's life.’
      • ‘However in reality many people who do assist in euthanasia get fairly light sentences.’
      • ‘One officer may sleep if the work load is light, while the other monitors the flight.’
      • ‘Sit up, do light housework, or take a walk until your body has had a chance to digest.’
      • ‘Should they be blogging regularly or only when they have a light work load?’
      • ‘The plaintiff's back injury only allowed him to take on light work.’
      • ‘But suggest a bit of light housework and he's all feral snarls and pulling rank.’
      • ‘What would you do if the men who were responsible were given light jail sentences?’
      • ‘The prosecutors left the Court without explaining the request for such a light sentence.’
      • ‘When the police bring anyone to justice in this country, some judges want to let off the scum of the land with light sentences.’
      • ‘Are they working to review the light sentence that has been handed out?’
      • ‘Still expecting a light sentence, he was crushed by his condemnation to indefinite imprisonment.’
      • ‘Typically, she received a very light sentence, soon revised downward.’
      • ‘His sentence had been relatively light, as she never accused him of violating her.’
      • ‘Despite new and improved laws, judicial proceedings remain slow and the fines actually imposed are light.’
      • ‘Always walk or do another light cardiovascular exercise for five minutes before you work out.’
      easy, simple, undemanding, untaxing, unexacting, not burdensome, moderate, endurable, bearable, tolerable
      View synonyms
  • 4(of food or a meal) small in quantity and easy to digest.

    ‘a light supper’
    • ‘I did some studying after eating my light lunch of 9 sushi rolls and a big glass of tea.’
    • ‘Here, cooks will prepare a light meal of mixed salad, tinned cold fish or meat, bread and cheese and fruit.’
    • ‘Chris and I went for a walk up over the hill and had a light brunch at the Reverie Cafe in Cole Valley.’
    • ‘Prawn risotto with dill and creme fraiche had all the promise of a light but punchy starter.’
    • ‘You can poach or fry the eggs, keeping the yolks runny, and serve with a salad for a light lunch or supper.’
    • ‘On Sunday morning, we have a light breakfast and then head for the shops.’
    • ‘Eating a light meal before your treatment may also help prevent nausea and vomiting.’
    • ‘James Bond would have invited her into the front seat and suggested a light lunch of sea food and champagne.’
    • ‘Pita meat pie often is the final course of a meal or is served as a light supper on its own.’
    • ‘So within half an hour of getting Mig's phonecall we were meeting him and going for a light breakfast.’
    • ‘Breakfast is a light meal of bread, cereal, yogurt, and coffee or hot chocolate.’
    • ‘The Princess had requested a light buffet lunch, including a selection of local cheeses.’
    • ‘He invited me up to join him for a light meal as a token of gratitude for helping his people.’
    • ‘I went on to eat a light breakfast and to get my morning writing session done, then felt decidedly dozy.’
    • ‘Tickets for the event cost only £5 each and that also includes a light supper.’
    • ‘People who sign up as members will be invited to help themselves to a light buffet after the formal launch of the group.’
    • ‘It was light and tasty, but rather deficient in the garlic stakes.’
    • ‘Palestinians often buy snacks or light meals from street vendors as they go about their daily business.’
    • ‘The menu had a fair range of options from light snacks to full meals.’
    • ‘Speaking of which, the Rex has a decent menu of light meals and snacks, and offers a variety of draft beers.’
    small, modest, scanty, simple, skimpy, frugal, not heavy, not rich, not large
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 (of a foodstuff) low in fat, cholesterol, sugar, or other rich ingredients.
      ‘stick to a light diet’
      • ‘Adding some light dairy products to a smart diet was first seen as a way to lower blood pressure.’
      • ‘These are topped off by a variety of puddings ranging from light sorbets to incredibly rich chocolate mousses.’
      • ‘Aljotta is a light fish soup relying heavily on garlic and marjoram for flavour.’
      • ‘Hold the rich sauces and have a light soup for a starter with fresh fruit for desert.’
      • ‘They were doused in a light tomato sauce that seeped into the big mound of rice below.’
      • ‘Each doctor that saw her said something different about her diet; food, no food, light diet; no food!’
      • ‘As I did not have milk on hand, I used light whipping cream in addition to regular.’
      • ‘It was halibut, light but intense, melting but singing with flavour.’
      • ‘Place the peach in a light sugar syrup with the cracked peach pit for flavour.’
      • ‘Occasional sweets notwithstanding, the royal children were raised on very simple, light foods.’
      • ‘If you want the granny apple to hold slightly and maintain its shape, you can cook it gently in a light sugar syrup.’
      • ‘The mash was good and the lemon and herby drizzle made this a light and delicate follow-on to the full-flavoured fish soup.’
      • ‘These were covered in a light garlic-flavoured batter and came with a tangy Neopolitan sauce.’
      • ‘The sweet, light tomato sauce provides space and support for the pungent, spicy salami and cheese.’
      • ‘The main course was a choice of stuffed baby squid or sautéed pork tenderloin on a light Thai green curry sauce.’
      • ‘The tuna tartare was mixed in a light cream sauce, and served with a mound of black caviar.’
      • ‘The thinly-sliced chicken had been poached in a light and delicate broth infused with lime leaf and coriander.’
      • ‘The champagne cream sauce was refreshingly light and brought out the best of my wife's salmon filet.’
      • ‘The spring veggies were another hit: baby carrots, asparagus, French greens and corn in light soy sauce.’
      • ‘It was white, fleshy and not oily, cooked in a light batter and served with a white cream sauce and mushrooms.’
    2. 4.2 (of drink) not strongly alcoholic or heavy on the stomach.
      ‘a light Hungarian wine’
      • ‘Bierzo, abutting Galicia in the north west, shows promise with its light fragrant reds from the Mencía grape.’
      • ‘Beer can range from light ales to dark stouts depending on the proportions of malt and barley.’
      • ‘Imported light beers are up across the board, while domestic lights are a mixed bag.’
      • ‘Pale green in the glass, with golden highlights, this is a soft, light wine with attractive floral notes.’
      • ‘I went out for light drinks with a mate after work last night and was home by 8.30 pm.’
      • ‘The wine tasted so light that they drank a lot without any consideration.’
      • ‘Beer is consumed as a typical light alcoholic beverage, while rum is the hard liquor of choice.’
      • ‘Effects are more or less the same whether light, regular or alcohol-free beer is consumed.’
      • ‘Your best bet is to drink the light or low-carb beer you like best and to do so in moderation.’
      • ‘I yelled at Dex who sat so happily on the couch with his feet on top of the table and a bottle of light beer in his hand.’
      • ‘It's like drinking club soda that has been watered down and mixed with flat light beer.’
      • ‘It's a lovely little wine, light but packed with flavour, perfect chilled before dinner or for sitting out in the sun.’
      • ‘Schiava grapes are found in most of the non-varietal light red wines of Trentino-Alto Adige.’
      • ‘If there was ever a drink that summed up a decade, it was this light, unobtrusive, fizzy red wine from central Italy.’
      • ‘If it immediately drains back into the glass, then it probably is a light alcohol or dry wine.’
      • ‘For other cheesy dishes, a light, fruity red wine is sometimes better.’
      • ‘Many dishes need a full-bodied wine with an oak overlay and would suffer in tandem with a light, fruity wine.’
      • ‘I started with light beers and ended up with dark, as is recommended to appreciate the flavours properly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Start with dry white wines, then do medium whites, then light reds, then stronger reds.’
    3. 4.3 (of pastry or cake) fluffy or well aerated during cooking.
      ‘it was delicious, the pastry light and flaky’
      • ‘In a large bowl beat the butter and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy.’
      • ‘Modern Banbury cakes are small and oval, made of light flaky pastry with a crisp top achieved by a powdering of sugar before baking.’
      • ‘The naan breads in particular were lovely and light and fluffy.’
      • ‘The sweetbreads were fine, raised above the mediocre by a wonderfully sweet and light pastry.’
      • ‘The pastry was crisp and light and the salad was the kind where you wanted to eat every scrap.’
      • ‘On my plate was some melon, sweet and fragrant, and a star-shaped pastry so light and flaky, I hardly dared pick it up.’
      • ‘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 light and flaky, and the insides were pleasant enough, if a little lacking in spice.’
      • ‘I also enjoy a light, fluffy omelet, or maybe basted eggs with bacon or strawberries and dry toast.’
      • ‘This has ground almonds and the texture is almost light, although it is rich and moist.’
      • ‘This rhubarb and blueberry soufflé is light, lovely, rich and drop-dead gorgeous.’
      • ‘The pastry was light and the pears and ice cream moreish to the point of danger.’
      • ‘My other half gave top marks to her hot smoked haddock tartlet, made with light filo pastry and served up with asparagus and a poached egg.’
      • ‘The base was perfectly cooked, light and fresh, the mushroom topping rich and full of flavour.’
      • ‘It's almost impossible to choose between a cake layered with cream cheese frosting and a lighter white sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries.’
      • ‘Beat the butter and caster sugar in a bowl until light and creamy.’
      • ‘But fruit cakes can also be light and non-alcoholic when made with fresh fruit.’
      • ‘Ann beat me to choosing the mince tart, and excellent it was, with acceptably light pastry.’
      • ‘The sticky toffee pudding had a light sponge and moreish caramel sauce, all of which disappeared fast.’
      • ‘Cream together the unsalted butter and demerara sugar until light and fluffy.’
  • 5Gentle or delicate.

    ‘she planted a light kiss on his cheek’
    ‘my breathing was steady and light’
    • ‘The therapy is very gentle, using only light touch, but it is amazing in its results.’
    • ‘Still she could not resist walking a few steps forward, to drop a light kiss onto his forehead.’
    • ‘Apply generously with light strokes and avoid brushing over it again once it's on.’
    • ‘She turned back to face him, as she felt his hand on her shoulder, his touch as light as the gentle caress of a flower.’
    • ‘She wrapped her arm around Jamie's waist and gave him a light squeeze and a kiss on the cheek.’
    • ‘He felt her fingers intertwine with his as he started placing light kisses along her jaw again.’
    • ‘The knock on the front door was light, and at first I wasn't certain of it.’
    • ‘She did not shy from him; instead she kissed him back, a light and quick brush of the lips.’
    • ‘Even Levine, looking tired, doesn't approach the podium with a light step these days.’
    • ‘She accepted his hand, tensing a bit when his thumb made one light stroke of her knuckles.’
    • ‘She pasted on a smile, though, as John Taylor gave her a light hug and kissed her cheek.’
    • ‘Her fingers were light and gentle upon the keys, and the machine responded by whirring into action.’
    • ‘The kiss was light and brief, but it was the most amazing thing I'd ever felt.’
    • ‘I kissed her, a light brush of the lips, but still enough to let her know how much I wanted her.’
    • ‘She giggled lightly and turned to give him a light kiss.’
    • ‘It was clear now that she was indeed sleeping, her light breathing in no way hindered.’
    • ‘This pulse is felt with a light pressure of the fingers, just resting on the artery.’
    • ‘His touch was light and gentle, being extra careful of not putting any pressure on my back.’
    • ‘He stood up and finished getting dressed and gave her a light, shaky kiss on the cheek.’
    • ‘When he was halfway across the street, he heard both heavy and light footsteps behind him.’
    gentle, delicate, soft, dainty, graceful
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1 (of type) having thin strokes; not bold.
      ‘times shown in light type denote connecting services’
      • ‘The thickness of the font was kind of perfect for our logo, not too bold and not too light.’
  • 6(of entertainment) requiring little mental effort; not profound or serious.

    ‘pop is thought of as light entertainment’
    ‘some light reading’
    • ‘It is possible that Rob will change the face of light entertainment in Britain.’
    • ‘The novel is a light read that promises to tax you no more than a politician at election time.’
    • ‘A huge bestseller in Spain, the novel has been criticised by some on the left for serving up a light version of the civil war.’
    • ‘They were always intended to be light pieces to entertain and to dance to.’
    • ‘Picking up the papers I eyed it warily, it was obviously not going to be light reading.’
    • ‘The run will finish with an awards presentation, BBQ and some light entertainment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the meantime, we can enjoy this story, which is a nice little bit of light reading.’
    • ‘Apart from the usual academic books, books for light reading and for serious reading are also available.’
    • ‘Wavell had, it seems, an interest both in light fiction and serious history.’
    • ‘It would, said the theory, take the world's most popular game and turn it into mainstream light entertainment.’
    • ‘Those with pocket money obtained all kinds of novels, serious and light.’
    • ‘With no humour and very little in the way of hope, this is certainly not light entertainment.’
    • ‘While the racy title and erotic cover art might suggest a light read, nothing could be further from the truth.’
    • ‘Yes, I know it's jokey, light, entertaining fare, but it's good as well.’
    • ‘Otherwise, this is a relatively short and light featurette on the art of movie music.’
    • ‘In recent years, McCartney has branched into composing light classical music.’
    • ‘After this I thought I'd do a little light reading.’
    • ‘As such this is not going to be a film for someone looking for a couple of hours of light entertainment.’
    entertaining, lightweight, diverting, recreative, undemanding, easily understood, middle-of-the-road
    View synonyms
    1. 6.1 Not solemn or unhappy; cheerful.
      ‘I left the island with a light heart’
      • ‘All day, there are thoughts both weighty and light dancing through my head.’
      • ‘The first part of the story ends at a very natural point in the story, and on a suitably light moment.’
      • ‘Penn keeps the tone of the film extremely light, as the action effortlessly hops between Florida and Beverly Hills.’
      • ‘Well, that's a fairly light musing for the evening after much of my heavier writings on here.’
      • ‘The overall tone is considerably lighter than in Chaucer's poem, the play being diversified with songs and lyrical passages.’
      • ‘Looking for a little light relief, I flipped over to a TV auction channel, to see what I didn't want to buy today.’
      • ‘The film is full of jokes and humour - it has a light, positive, happy feeling.’
      • ‘His voice had lost its light laughter, and the love of the buildings he had lived with all his life showed through.’
      gentle, mild, moderate, slight
      carefree, light-hearted, cheerful, cheery, happy, merry, jolly, blithe, bright, sunny, untroubled
      View synonyms
  • 7archaic (of a woman) having many casual sexual encounters or relationships.

    • ‘Jude found the room full of soldiers and light women.’


  • be light on

    • Be rather short of.

      ‘we're light on fuel’
      • ‘I've complained before about movies being light on plot, but this one is absolutely plot-free.’
      • ‘News of the hacker's exploit this morning has been light on details.’
      • ‘He did 32 very fine films for Columbia which were light on song and heavy with drama.’
      • ‘I remember the letters were light on news about his military life and more focused on her.’
      • ‘In reality, the session was light on content, and relatively few major bills were passed.’
      • ‘The novel is light on the amount of dialogue, but very lyrical and poetic.’
      • ‘He has been light on policy while exhorting voters to abandon the stale battle between right and left.’
      • ‘I apologize we were light on the show notes, a bit light on the content, and there were no technical segments.’
      • ‘Though the talk was light on actual development details, the fact remains that Nom 2 is one hell of a crazy game.’
      • ‘Such civil litigation is labour intensive, and like all capital defence offices, we were light on labour.’
  • 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’
      • ‘As the competition continues to come in, we're going to have to be light on our feet, as is everyone.’
      • ‘And former champ Holyfield has proven himself to be light on his feet both inside and outside the boxing ring.’
      • ‘No two research projects are ever the same, and you can see why we have to be light on our feet and innovative in our thinking.’
      • ‘But in developing new products we have to be light on our feet and create them faster than potential competitors.’
      • ‘Of course, you could see a clump of mud coming toward you and if you were light on your feet you could side-step it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I can't imagine what it's like to be light on my feet, to wear a bikini bathing suit, or to have one chin.’
      • ‘She was never exactly a ballerina but she could be light on her feet if she needed to be.’
      • ‘We just have to be light on our feet and go with whatever we think is best for the situation.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
  • 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’
      • ‘No doubt you missed our light touch with that heavyweight issue on torture last week.’
      • ‘It is his light touch that allows Weschler to get away with such parallels; he never pushes a point too far.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He says that the City of London must retain its light touch and risk-based regulatory regime.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Carver had a light touch as a teacher of creative writing and he did not consider it was his job to discourage anyone.’
      • ‘Her directing is right on, and her light touch steers Galloway deftly through some black humor.’
      • ‘There is a light touch to the way the story is told which never detracts from the central mystery of that evil.’
      • ‘The character commentaries are handled with a light touch, thus avoiding the deadly sin of belaboring a joke past the point of humor.’
      • ‘This is romantic comedy skillfully rendered with a light touch and complete with a colorful cast of characters.’
  • make light of

    • Treat as unimportant.

      ‘I didn't mean to make light of your problems’
      • ‘To make light of the threat posed by these determined fanatics - as some in Britain are now trying to do - is self-delusional at best and suicidal at worst.’
      • ‘This is the second time Mr Howard has made light of such an incident.’
      • ‘He who neglects this should not be surprised if his students make light of him.’
      • ‘I mean, really, I don't think it fits your style to make light of terrorism and war like that.’
      • ‘Armour made light of subjects like history and literature with mild satire characterized by ridiculous over-use of foot-notes, which were often even funnier than the text.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the subtlety, range and freshness of her work has too often been ignorantly made light of.’
      • ‘Companies that make light of elders are finding a consumer force to reckon with.’
      • ‘The company withdrew an ad after an advocacy group charged that it made light of sex abuse.’
      • ‘It is disheartening some people are trying to make light of a serious situation.’
      • ‘It is an incredibly traumatic experience that should be seriously treated and never 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
      View synonyms
  • make light work of

    • Accomplish (a task) quickly and easily.

      ‘make light work of cooking with the help of this electronic food processor’
      • ‘It was their powerful four-wheel drive car that made light work of the muddy roads that connected the villages.’
      • ‘High praise is due to our server, who made light work of snaking his way through the thickets of humanity.’
      • ‘The home side made light work of a depleted Alstonville line-up with a 3-nil win.’
      • ‘The world's best male and female sprint hurdlers also made light work of the conditions to beat high quality fields.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sea Scout crews made light work of the locks, for some of the crews this was their first canal boating experience.’
      • ‘At the end of the day-long meeting, he made light work of summing up the main points.’
      • ‘Second seed Power made light work of his opening encounter in the Hungarian Open Squash Championship.’
      • ‘I watched in amazement as it made light work of blending a whole assortment of foods, which, from experience, I knew my cheap high street blender would never have handled.’
      • ‘This photo shows Sam and his mighty chainsaw making light work of one of the many trees that were downed during a recent storm.’
  • travel light

    • Travel with a minimum load or minimum luggage.

      ‘she's one of those backpackers who likes to travel light’
      • ‘The key to travelling light is keeping everything you take to a minimum.’
      • ‘We all travelled light, taking with us only what we considered to be the bare essentials of life.’
      • ‘Though we traveled light, indispensable to us on board were two books we re-read and consulted constantly.’
      • ‘Frank travelled light around the world, with one small cardboard suitcase and a canvas rucksack.’
      • ‘The commandos and Special Forces traveled light and were trained for this kind of backwoods work.’
      • ‘Just like Clinton he travelled light for quick travel without family, friends, and the US press.’
      • ‘The grooms travelled light with a razor in their pockets, and few other personal items.’
      • ‘The website could provide you with some helpful hints and advice so that you can travel light and still look stylish at your destination.’
      • ‘As always, he traveled light on this trip with nothing but a knapsack containing a change of clothes and a loaf of bread.’
      • ‘We travelled light, carrying just a sleeping bag and spare clothing, and eating and sleeping in village lodges.’


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.




Main definitions of light in English

: light1light2light3



[no object]
  • 1light on/uponCome upon or discover by chance.

    ‘he lit on a possible solution’
    • ‘Galvin is the best restaurant I have lit upon this year.’
    • ‘In the search for a text, Elgar lit upon his mother's favourite poet, Longfellow.’
    • ‘The sunlight struck upon my face and my eyes lit upon the white and sandy shores of France.’
    • ‘Kelly does repeat a few jokes, and maybe I lighted on these instances instead of the ones I recall.’
    • ‘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.’
    come across, chance on, hit on, happen on, stumble across, stumble on, blunder on, find, discover, uncover, arrive at, encounter, think of, come up with
    View synonyms
  • 2archaic Descend.

    ‘from the horse he lit down’
    • ‘Gently she handed the little girl to her mother and they lighted from their horses.’
    1. 2.1light on Fall and settle or land on (a surface)
      ‘a feather just lighted on the ground’
      • ‘A thrush had lighted on a bough not five meters away, almost at the level of their faces.’
      • ‘It was said with a grin but that didn't dilute the cloud that lighted on the soldier's face.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • light into

    • Criticize severely; attack.

      ‘he lit into him for his indiscretion’
      • ‘But instead I sighed and got up and stepped into the fray to mediate, whereupon grandma entered and lit into me.’
      • ‘She made the mistake of looking up to make a cruel statement when Nicolette saw her face and lit in to her more.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One student said something to the effect of ‘everyone calm down’ and then Zack lit into that guy.’
      scold, berate, upbraid, castigate, censure, condemn, lambaste, criticize, reprimand, rebuke, chide, reprove, admonish, harangue, take to task, lay into, rant at, rave at, rail at, revile, fulminate against, call over the coals, haul over the coals
      assault, set upon, fall on, attack, assail, turn on, lash out at, round on, strike, beat
      View synonyms
  • light out

    • Depart hurriedly.

      ‘he lit out for California to ‘find’ himself’
      • ‘MacAdams, a white poet and journalist from Texas who lit out for the cool of New York, is part of it too.’
      • ‘In 1975, the twenty year old Heimo Korth lit out for Alaska, built a fourteen by fourteen foot cabin, and married a native woman.’
      • ‘After breakfast he tries to get some exercise until about 10.15 am, then he reads newspapers, does crosswords and reads his books for the rest of the afternoon before dinner and lights out about 9pm.’
      • ‘Two weeks ago they lit out again, this time to surrender.’
      • ‘Although I was wearing tennis shoes - a big ‘no-no’ when you're in snake country - I lit out at a full run behind a huge black snake I spotted.’
      • ‘I looked at Hanse and nodded and we lit out again.’
      • ‘Just after his twentieth birthday, in 1916, Alves Reis lit out for the Portuguese colony of Angola to make his fortune.’
      • ‘A bunch of us lit out from Maryland and headed down through the Allegheny Mountains to the southwest corner of West Virginia.’
      • ‘His memoir talks about how he gave up the life of a photographer in London and lit out for Paris and how I lit out after him.’
      • ‘We are a society of people who light out for the territory when problems come along.’
      • ‘Janie then lit out of the house with her shotgun, telling Pa she was off to find Lyddie June.’
      • ‘People have lit out after him and it just transforms the whole sport.’
      • ‘After my assignation in the piney woods, I lit out and did not look back.’
      • ‘He was the quintessential American: the Easterner who headed West, lighting out for the Territories, looking back over his shoulder only to make sure no one was following.’


Old English līhtan (in light (sense 2); also ‘lessen the weight of’), from light; compare with alight.