- Also called luminous energy, radiant energy.electromagnetic radiation to which the organs of sight react, ranging in wavelength from about 400 to 700 nm and propagated at a speed of 186,282 mi./sec (299,972 km/sec), considered variously as a wave, corpuscular, or quantum phenomenon.
- a similar form of radiant energy that does not affect the retina, as ultraviolet or infrared rays.
- the effect of light falling on an object or scene as represented in a picture.
- one of the brightest parts of a picture.
- Also called day.one compartment of a window or window sash.
- a window, especially a small one.
adjective, light·er, light·est.
verb (used with object), light·ed or lit, light·ing.
verb (used without object), light·ed or lit, light·ing.
- to come into existence or being.
- to be made public.
- to begin to accept or understand a point of view one formerly opposed: Her father was opposed to her attending an out-of-town college, but he finally saw the light.
Origin of light1
- illumination from the sun during the day; daylight
- the time this appears; daybreak; dawn
- the act of igniting or kindling something, such as a cigarette
- something that ignites or kindles, esp in a specified manner, such as a spark or flame
- something used for igniting or kindling, such as a match
- the effect of illumination on objects or scenes, as created in a picture
- an area of brightness in a picture, as opposed to shade
- to gain sudden insight into or understanding of something
- to experience a religious conversion
- to come into being
- to come to public notice
- (verb)to ignite something, esp a match, by friction
- (interjection) Britishan exclamation of surprise
verb lights, lighting, lighted or lit (lɪt)
Word Origin for light
- designed to carry light loads
- not loaded
- (of a bid) made on insufficient values
- (of a player) having failed to take sufficient tricks to make his contract
verb lights, lighting, lighted or lit (lɪt) (intr)
Word Origin for light
"not dark," Old English leoht, common Germanic (cf. Old Saxon and Old High German lioht, Old Frisian liacht, German licht "bright," from the source of Old English leoht (see light (n.)). Meaning "pale-hued" is from 1540s.
"brightness, radiant energy," Old English leht, earlier leoht "light, daylight; luminous, beautiful," from West Germanic *leukhtam (cf. Old Saxon lioht, Old Frisian liacht, Middle Dutch lucht, Dutch licht, Old High German lioht, German Licht, Gothic liuhaþ "light"), from PIE *leuk- "light, brightness" (cf. Sanskrit rocate "shines;" Armenian lois "light," lusin "moon;" Greek leukos "bright, shining, white;" Latin lucere "to shine," lux "light," lucidus "clear;" Old Church Slavonic luci "light;" Lithuanian laukas "pale;" Welsh llug "gleam, glimmer;" Old Irish loche "lightning," luchair "brightness;" Hittite lukezi "is bright").
The -gh- was an Anglo-French scribal attempt to render the Germanic hard -h- sound, which has since disappeared from this word. The figurative spiritual sense was in Old English; the sense of "mental illumination" is first recorded mid-15c. Meaning "something used for igniting" is from 1680s. Meaning "a consideration which puts something in a certain view (e.g. in light of) is from 1680s. Something that's a joy and a delight has been the light of (someone's) eyes since Old English:
Ðu eart dohtor min, minra eagna leoht [Juliana].
To see the light "come into the world" is from 1680s; later in a Christian sense.
"not heavy," from Old English leoht "not heavy, light in weight; easy, trifling; quick, agile," from Proto-Germanic *lingkhtaz (cf. Old Norse lettr, Swedish lätt, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch licht, German leicht, Gothic leihts), from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight" (cf. Latin levis "light," Old Irish lu "small;" see lever).
The notion in make light of (1520s) is of "unimportance." Alternative spelling lite, the darling of advertisers, is first recorded 1962. The adverb is Old English leohte, from the adjective. Light-skirts "woman of easy virtue" is attested from 1590s. To make light of is from 1520s.
"touch down," from Old English lihtan "to alight; alleviate, leave," from Proto-Germanic *linkhtijan, literally "to make light," from *lingkhtaz "not heavy" (see light (adj.1)). Apparently the ground sense is "to dismount a horse, etc., and thus relieve it of one's weight." To light out "leave hastily" is 1870, from a nautical meaning "move out, move heavy objects," of unknown origin but perhaps belonging to this word (cf. lighter (n.1)).
in a bad light
see in a good light.
In addition to the idioms beginning with light
- light a fire under
- light as a feather
- light at the end of the tunnel
- light dawned, the
- lighten up
- light heart
- light into
- lightning never strikes twice in the same place
- light on
- light out
- light up
- begin to see daylight (see the light of day)
- bring to light
- come to light
- go light on
- green light
- heavy (light) heart
- hide one's light
- in a good (bad) light
- in the cold light of day
- in the light of
- lace (light) into
- leading light
- make light of
- many hands make light work
- once over lightly
- out cold (like a light)
- see the light
- shed light on
- sweetness and light
- travel light
- trip the light fantastic