[foo t-lahyt]


Usually footlights. Theater. the lights at the front of a stage that are nearly on a level with the feet of the performers.
the footlights, the stage; acting profession.

Origin of footlight

First recorded in 1830–40; foot + light1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for footlights

Contemporary Examples of footlights

Historical Examples of footlights

  • But when the footlights are on and the limes are lit, you'd be surprised to see how fine it looks.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Instead of screening him I had dragged him in front of the footlights.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • Bton in hand, he was bowing from his place before the footlights.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • He noticed it and became abashed—he, the hero of a hundred footlights.


    James Huneker

  • His face was in the sideway glare of the footlights which illumined the orchestra.

    An Old Meerschaum

    David Christie Murray

British Dictionary definitions for footlights


pl n theatre

lights set in a row along the front of the stage floor and shielded on the audience side
informal the acting profession; the stage
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 footlights

1836, from foot (of the stage) + light (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper