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alight1

[uh-lahyt] /əˈlaɪt/
verb (used without object), alighted or alit, alighting.
1.
to dismount from a horse, descend from a vehicle, etc.
2.
to settle or stay after descending:
The bird alighted on the tree.
3.
to encounter or notice something accidentally.
Origin of alight1
1000
before 1000; Middle English alighten, Old English ālīhtan, equivalent to ā- a-3 + līhtan to relieve (originally an animal mount) of weight, light2)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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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

alight1

/əˈlaɪt/
verb (intransitive) alights, alighting, alighted, alit
1.
(usually foll by from) to step out (of) or get down (from): to alight from a taxi
2.
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

alight2

/əˈlaɪt/
adjective, adverb (postpositive)
1.
burning; on fire
2.
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

alight

v.

"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.

adj.

"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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