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See more synonyms for alight on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), a·light·ed or a·lit, a·light·ing.
  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.
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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)


adverb, adjective
  1. provided with light; lighted up.
  2. on fire; burning.
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Origin of alight2

before 1000; now taken as a-1 + light1; orig. past participle of alight to light up (Middle English alihten, Old English onlīhtan, equivalent to on a-1 + līhtan to light1)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for alight

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Grace's face was alight with appreciation of Mrs. Gray's gift.

  • Here, Garson paid the fare, and then helped the girl to alight, and on into the hallway.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Nor when we alight at the Pas de Soucis are these features wanting.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • At this point we alight, our water-way being blocked for nearly a mile.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • Again we take a leap of about twenty years, and alight in the midst of the Revolution.

    Old News

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

British Dictionary definitions for alight


verb alights, alighting, alighted or alit (intr)
  1. (usually foll by from) to step out (of) or get down (from)to alight from a taxi
  2. to come to rest; settle; landa thrush alighted on the wall
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Word Origin

Old English ālīhtan, from a- ² + līhtan to make less heavy, from līht light ²


adjective, adverb (postpositive)
  1. burning; on fire
  2. illuminated; lit up
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Word Origin

Old English ālīht lit up, from ālīhtan to light up; see light 1
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

Word Origin and History for alight


"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.

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"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.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper