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lightly

[lahyt-lee]
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adverb
  1. with little weight, force, intensity, etc.; gently: to press lightly on a door bell.
  2. to only a small amount or degree; slightly: lightly fried eggs.
  3. nimbly; quickly: to leap lightly aside.
  4. with a lack of concern; indifferently; slightly: to think lightly of one's achievements.
  5. cheerfully; without complaining: to take bad news lightly.
  6. without due consideration or reason (often used negatively): an offer not to be refused lightly.
  7. easily; without trouble or effort: Lightly come, lightly go.
  8. frivolously; flippantly: to behave lightly.
  9. airily; buoyantly: flags floating lightly.

Origin of lightly

before 900; Middle English lightli, Old English lēohtlīce. See light2, -ly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lightly

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The moral customs of their countries were possibly held by them lightly.

  • She had kissed him lightly on the cheek before he knew what she intended to do.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • But daddy's attentions were for few, and not to be lightly received.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Yates caught up a handful of sand, and flung it lightly against the pane.

  • "Been rolling that to the top of the mountain," he said lightly.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter


Word Origin and History for lightly

adv.

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

Idioms and Phrases with lightly

lightly

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.