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90s Slang You Should Know


[uh-lahyt] /əˈlaɪt/
verb (used without object), alighted or alit, alighting.
to dismount from a horse, descend from a vehicle, etc.
to settle or stay after descending:
The bird alighted on the tree.
to encounter or notice something accidentally.
Origin of alight1
before 1000; Middle English alighten, Old English ālīhtan, equivalent to ā- a-3 + līhtan to relieve (originally an animal mount) of weight, light2) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for alighting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Saying which she turned a somersault off the Woozy and, alighting on her feet, began wildly dancing about.

    The Lost Princess of Oz L. Frank Baum
  • They had come by the road; and others, alighting, were about to take the road.

    Merry-Garden and Other Stories Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • He slipped sidewise on alighting, jarred his elbow, and bruised his leg.

    A Gentleman Player Robert Neilson Stephens
  • The birds, alighting on the spot, caught their feet in the snare.

    The Later Cave-Men Katharine Elizabeth Dopp
  • At a height of several thousand feet in the air, he freed himself and descended gradually, alighting gently upon the earth.

    The Romance of Aircraft Lawrence Yard Smith
  • A hand settled in mine with the brushing touch of an alighting bird.

    The Thing from the Lake Eleanor M. Ingram
  • We had scarcely arrived when a frigidus appeared on the scene, alighting six feet away.

    Wasps George W. Peckham
  • On the doorstep he met Mr Rimbolt, alighting from his brougham.

    A Dog with a Bad Name Talbot Baines Reed
  • As it drew into the station, they eagerly scanned the alighting passengers.

British Dictionary definitions for alighting


verb (intransitive) alights, alighting, alighted, alit
(usually foll by from) to step out (of) or get down (from): to alight from a taxi
to come to rest; settle; land: a thrush alighted on the wall
Word Origin
Old English ālīhtan, from a-² + līhtan to make less heavy, from līhtlight²


adjective, adverb (postpositive)
burning; on fire
illuminated; lit up
Word Origin
Old English ālīht lit up, from ālīhtan to light up; see light1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for alighting



"to descend, dismount," Old English alihtan, originally "to lighten, take off, take away," from a- "down, aside" (see a- (1)) + lihtan "get off, make light" (see light (v.)). The notion is of getting down off a horse or vehicle, thus lightening it. Of aircraft (originally balloons) from 1786. Related: Alighted; alighting.


"on fire," early 15c., apparently from Middle English aliht, past participle of alihton (Old English on-lihtan) "to light up," also "to shine upon" (see light (n.)).



"on fire," early 15c., apparently from Middle English aliht, past participle of alihton (Old English on-lihtan) "to light up," also "to shine upon" (see light (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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