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90s Slang You Should Know


[lahyt-lee] /ˈlaɪt li/
with little weight, force, intensity, etc.; gently:
to press lightly on a door bell.
to only a small amount or degree; slightly:
lightly fried eggs.
nimbly; quickly:
to leap lightly aside.
with a lack of concern; indifferently; slightly:
to think lightly of one's achievements.
cheerfully; without complaining:
to take bad news lightly.
without due consideration or reason (often used negatively):
an offer not to be refused lightly.
easily; without trouble or effort:
Lightly come, lightly go.
frivolously; flippantly:
to behave lightly.
airily; buoyantly:
flags floating lightly.
Origin of lightly
before 900; Middle English lightli, Old English lēohtlīce. See light2, -ly Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lightly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Wide-eyed, he got lightly to his feet and started for the trap.

  • Public opinion in the church judged them lightly, although unfavorably.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • But something had been said that could not be lightly passed.

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • The Master said, Can that which is hard to do be lightly spoken?

  • Dulce, plucking some pale blossom, lifts it to her lips, and kisses it lightly.

    Portia Duchess
Word Origin and History for lightly

Old English leohtlice "so as not to be heavy" (of material things, but also of sleep, blows, etc.); cognate with Old Frisian lichtelik, Old High German lihtlihho, German leichtlich, Old Norse lettlega (see light (adj.1)). Meaning "frivolously, indifferently" is from early 13c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with lightly
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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