Definition of lightly in English:



  • 1Gently, delicately or softly.

    ‘she placed her hand lightly on my shoulder’
    • ‘Elizabeth found it difficult to keep the pleading tone suppressed in her voice as she touched her friend's free hand lightly.’
    • ‘Then she actually began to slap my arm lightly - not very hard, just enough to provoke me.’
    • ‘From fairway bunkers, take one club longer than normal, position the ball back in your stance and grip the club lightly.’
    • ‘He lifted the needle from her back to pinch her upper arm lightly.’
    • ‘"Right over there, sugar," Angel said, lifting the little girl up, and placing her lightly on the ground.’
    • ‘In an auditorium in Taipei, about 400 relatives also took part in a Buddhist ceremony with monks chanting softly and drumming lightly on wooden blocks.’
    • ‘He lightly rapped his knuckles on the passenger window of the lone car.’
    • ‘Still, we touched each other lightly, and my right front tyre was slit in the process.’
    • ‘Bend the toes of your right foot back, bend your knee, and let the sole of your right foot come lightly into contact with your opponent's abdomen.’
    • ‘Take another of the bags and make it into a tie by pulling lightly on diagonal corners.’
    • ‘William was too caught up in the lively creature, whose well-manicured hands flew lightly over the keys.’
    • ‘Liz reaches up and lightly shuts Jason's jaw.’
    • ‘You say you have finger problems, but actually, a fingertip grip makes it easier to grip the ball lightly than a conventional grip.’
    • ‘Frankie took her hand and lightly brushed it.’
    • ‘Darcy raised a hand to brush her face lightly.’
    • ‘He took my hand and lightly kissed it.’
    • ‘Around the front door was a jumble of wild roses and he went up the path and knocked lightly.’
    • ‘Sarah repeats the knock, less lightly.’
    • ‘After he was dressed he kissed his sister lightly on the forehead, headed to the stables where he found his ever-ready steed.’
    • ‘Starting at the ceiling, lightly press the tape into the corner.’
    softly, gently, faintly, delicately
    sparingly, slightly, sparsely, moderately, softly, thinly, delicately
    without severe punishment, easily, leniently, mildly
    carelessly, airily, readily, heedlessly, without consideration, uncaringly, indifferently, unthinkingly, thoughtlessly, flippantly, facilely, breezily, frivolously
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  • 2In relatively small amounts or in low density; sparingly.

    ‘it was snowing lightly’
    • ‘To encourage compactness and flowering, prune around the edges of the plant and very lightly over the top.’
    • ‘Vast, mountainous, woody, and lightly populated, Algeria offered terrain favorable to guerrilla warfare.’
    • ‘I also prune lightly between flowering cycles.’
    • ‘Lightly flour the pan, knocking out any excess flour; set aside.’
    • ‘The cake may be served fresh or, after 2 or 3 days will be excellent if sliced and lightly toasted.’
    • ‘Crush and add the garlic along with the grated ginger and stir fry for about 3 minutes until lightly browned.’
    • ‘Use your hands or a wooden spoon to toss so that the vegetables are lightly coated with oil.’
    • ‘All three facilities, built by the Soviet Union, have been in mothballs or lightly used in recent years.’
    • ‘Roll each part on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle.’
    • ‘These 5 subjects were placed in the lightly exposed group, yielding a total of 11 subjects who were lightly exposed to tobacco smoke.’
    • ‘This is a brilliant accompaniment for sizzling, crisp breaded chicken and Parmesan fillets, served with deep fried lightly battered cauliflower sprigs.’
    • ‘Lightly scatter your seeds by hand on the prepared soil.’
    • ‘The haddock was perfectly flaky and moist, lightly topped with bread crumbs, and served over sauteed spinach and sage mashed potatoes.’
    • ‘Melt the butter in a saucepan and fry the until lightly browned on all sides.’
    • ‘Cook over a low heat until the mixture barely thickens and lightly coats the back of the spoon.’
    • ‘Spoon the batter into a preheated, lightly greased griddle or frying pan.’
    • ‘They were not expecting trouble and a lightly equipped token force accompanied the King.’
    • ‘This extremely winter-hardy species thrives in a lightly shaded location.’
    • ‘We also sampled the roasted asparagus and red pepper appetizer, a refreshingly simple plate of vegetables served cold and lightly drizzled with a tangy topping.’
    • ‘However, don't thin at all if your tree is bearing lightly this year.’
  • 3In a way that is not serious or solemn; carelessly.

    ‘it is not something that should be taken lightly’
    • ‘To be tested in the key hunting grounds of the London orchestras at such an early stage in his career was not something the Scot took lightly.’
    • ‘Following Jesus is not something anyone should undertake lightly.’
    • ‘This is too sensitive a time to be taking such matters lightly.’
    • ‘Such enormous guilt, such responsibility could not be taken lightly.’
    • ‘They don't throw those terms around lightly.’
    • ‘Attracting the spending power of employees and trainees to the area should not be dismissed lightly.’
    • ‘We shouldn't take that responsibility lightly.’
    • ‘You have been correct in your assumption, Jane doesnt take things lightly.’
    • ‘The costs of blocking immigration cannot be lightly dismissed.’
    • ‘You speak so lightly of capturing and shooting prize vessels!’
    • ‘You and Mr. Darcy are not so different in temperament that you may treat your disagreements lightly.’
    • ‘Responsible people like police, paramedics and teachers will not take the step of passing on suspicions of child abuse lightly.’
    • ‘Going to war isn't something we do lightly.’
    • ‘The 24-week limit should stay, on the grounds that women do not undertake terminations lightly.’
    • ‘Yes, nonprofit organization offers certain legal protections to the artifacts and the collection, and these are not to be taken lightly.’
    • ‘Divorce is a decision that's not to be made lightly.’
    • ‘Assault should never be taken lightly.’
    • ‘Her death, which was handled a bit lightly - I feel it needed more gravitas - altered the arc of the show once again.’
    • ‘"People don't sign contracts lightly, and rarely pull out as they lose their deposit," he said.’
    • ‘Endorsing a political candidate is not something we take lightly.’
  • 4Without severe punishment; leniently.

    ‘some people are let off lightly’
    • ‘Park said they were lucky to escape so lightly.’
    • ‘Meanwhile those responsible for the workers misery and the trade in human beings seem to get off lightly - once again.’
    • ‘It seems all too often that the evil doers are let off lightly.’