Origin of lightly

before 900; Middle English lightli, Old English lēohtlīce. See light2, -ly Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lightly

Contemporary Examples of lightly

Historical Examples of lightly

  • 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.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

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


    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

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


see get off (lightly); once over lightly.

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