See more synonyms for light on
adjective, light·er, light·est.
  1. of little weight; not heavy: a light load.
  2. of little weight in proportion to bulk; of low specific gravity: a light metal.
  3. of less than the usual or average weight: light clothing.
  4. weighing less than the proper or standard amount: to be caught using light weights in trade.
  5. of small amount, force, intensity, etc.: light trading on the stock market; a light rain; light sleep.
  6. using or applying little or slight pressure or force: The child petted the puppy with light, gentle strokes.
  7. not distinct; faint: The writing on the page had become light and hard to read.
  8. easy to endure, deal with, or perform; not difficult or burdensome: light duties.
  9. not very profound or serious; amusing or entertaining: light reading.
  10. of little importance or consequence; trivial: The loss of his job was no light matter.
  11. easily digested: light food.
  12. low in any substance, as sugar, starch, or tars, that is considered harmful or undesirable: light cigarettes.
  13. (of alcoholic beverages)
    1. not heavy or strong: a light apéritif.
    2. (especially of beer and wine) having fewer calories and usually a lower alcohol content than the standard product.
  14. spongy or well-leavened, as cake.
  15. (of soil) containing much sand; porous or crumbly.
  16. slender or delicate in form or appearance: a light, graceful figure.
  17. airy or buoyant in movement: When she dances, she's as light as a feather.
  18. nimble or agile: light on one's feet.
  19. free from trouble, sorrow, or worry; carefree: a light heart.
  20. cheerful; merry: a light laugh.
  21. characterized by lack of proper seriousness; frivolous: light conduct.
  22. sexually promiscuous; loose.
  23. easily swayed; changeable; volatile: a heart light of love; His is a life of a man light of purpose.
  24. dizzy; slightly delirious: I get light on one martini.
  25. Military. lightly armed or equipped: light cavalry.
  26. having little or no cargo, encumbrance, or the like; not burdened: a light freighter drawing little water.
  27. adapted by small weight or slight build for small loads or swift movement: The grocer bought a light truck for deliveries.
  28. using small-scale machinery primarily for the production of consumer goods: light industry.
  29. Nautical. noting any sail of light canvas set only in moderate or calm weather, as a royal, skysail, studdingsail, gaff topsail, or spinnaker.
  30. Meteorology. (of wind) having a speed up to 7 miles per hour (3 m/sec).Compare light air, light breeze.
  31. Phonetics. (of l-sounds) resembling a front vowel in quality; clear: French l is lighter than English l.
  32. Prosody. (of a syllable)
    1. unstressed(def 1).
    2. short(def 17a).
  33. Poker. being in debt to the pot: He's a dollar light.
adverb, light·er, light·est.
  1. lightly: to travel light.
  2. with no load or cargo hauled or carried: a locomotive running light to its roundhouse.
  1. a light product, as a beer or cigarette.
  1. make light of, to treat as unimportant or trivial: They made light of our hard-won victory.

Origin of light

before 900; Middle English; Old English lēoht, līht; cognate with Old Frisian li(u)cht, Old Saxon -līht, Dutch licht, German leicht, Old Norse lēttr, Gothic leihts
Can be confusedlight lite

Synonyms for light

See more synonyms for on

Antonyms for light

1. heavy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for make light of


  1. God regarded as a source of illuminating grace and strength
  2. Quakerism short for Inner Light


  1. the medium of illumination that makes sight possible
  2. Also called: visible radiation electromagnetic radiation that is capable of causing a visual sensation and has wavelengths from about 380 to about 780 nanometres
  3. (not in technical usage) electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength outside this range, esp ultraviolet radiationultraviolet light
  4. the sensation experienced when electromagnetic radiation within the visible spectrum falls on the retina of the eyeRelated prefix: photo-
  5. anything that illuminates, such as a lamp or candle
  6. See traffic light
  7. a particular quality or type of lighta good light for reading
    1. illumination from the sun during the day; daylight
    2. the time this appears; daybreak; dawn
  8. anything that allows the entrance of light, such as a window or compartment of a window
  9. the condition of being visible or known (esp in the phrases bring or come to light)
  10. an aspect or viewhe saw it in a different light
  11. mental understanding or spiritual insight
  12. a person considered to be an authority or leader
  13. brightness of countenance, esp a sparkle in the eyes
    1. the act of igniting or kindling something, such as a cigarette
    2. something that ignites or kindles, esp in a specified manner, such as a spark or flame
    3. something used for igniting or kindling, such as a match
  14. See lighthouse
    1. the effect of illumination on objects or scenes, as created in a picture
    2. an area of brightness in a picture, as opposed to shade
  15. a poetic or archaic word for eyesight
  16. the answer to a clue in a crossword
  17. in light of or in the light of in view of; taking into account; considering
  18. light at the end of the tunnel hope for the ending of a difficult or unpleasant situation
  19. out like a light quickly asleep or unconscious
  20. see the light
    1. to gain sudden insight into or understanding of something
    2. to experience a religious conversion
  21. see the light or see the light of day
    1. to come into being
    2. to come to public notice
  22. shed light on or throw light on to clarify or supply additional information on
  23. stand in a person's light to stand so as to obscure a person's vision
  24. strike a light
    1. (verb)to ignite something, esp a match, by friction
    2. (interjection) Britishan exclamation of surprise
  1. full of light; well-lighted
  2. (of a colour) reflecting or transmitting a large amount of lightlight yellow Compare medium (def. 2), dark (def. 2)
  3. phonetics relating to or denoting an (l) pronounced with front vowel resonance; clearthe French "l" is much lighter than that of English See dark (def. 9)
verb lights, lighting, lighted or lit (lɪt)
  1. to ignite or cause to ignite
  2. (often foll by up) to illuminate or cause to illuminate
  3. to make or become cheerful or animated
  4. (tr) to guide or lead by light
See also lights 1, light up
Derived Formslightish, adjectivelightless, adjective

Word Origin for light

Old English lēoht; related to Old High German lioht, Gothic liuhath, Latin lux


  1. not heavy; weighing relatively little
  2. having relatively low densitymagnesium is a light metal
  3. lacking sufficient weight; not agreeing with standard or official weights
  4. not great in degree, intensity, or numberlight rain; a light eater
  5. without burdens, difficulties, or problems; easily borne or donea light heart; light work
  6. graceful, agile, or deftlight fingers
  7. not bulky or clumsy
  8. not serious or profound; entertaininglight verse
  9. without importance or consequence; insignificantno light matter
  10. frivolous or capricious
  11. loose in morals
  12. dizzy or uncleara light head
  13. (of bread, cake, etc) spongy or well leavened
  14. easily digesteda light meal
  15. relatively low in alcoholic contenta light wine
  16. (of a soil) having a crumbly texture
  17. (of a vessel, lorry, etc)
    1. designed to carry light loads
    2. not loaded
  18. carrying light arms or equipmentlight infantry
  19. (of an industry) engaged in the production of small consumer goods using light machineryCompare heavy (def. 10)
  20. aeronautics (of an aircraft) having a maximum take-off weight less than 5670 kilograms (12 500 pounds)
  21. chem (of an oil fraction obtained from coal tar) having a boiling range between about 100° and 210°C
  22. (of a railway) having a narrow gauge, or in some cases a standard gauge with speed or load restrictions not applied to a main line
  23. bridge
    1. (of a bid) made on insufficient values
    2. (of a player) having failed to take sufficient tricks to make his contract
  24. phonetics prosody (of a syllable, vowel, etc) unaccented or weakly stressed; shortCompare heavy (def. 13) See also light 1 (def. 30)
  25. phonetics the least of three levels of stress in an utterance, in such languages as English
  26. light on informal lacking a sufficient quantity of (something)
  27. make light of to treat as insignificant or trifling
  1. a less common word for lightly
  2. with little equipment, baggage, etcto travel light
verb lights, lighting, lighted or lit (lɪt) (intr)
  1. (esp of birds) to settle or land after flight
  2. to get down from a horse, vehicle, etc
  3. (foll by on or upon) to come upon unexpectedly
  4. to strike or fall onthe choice lighted on me
Derived Formslightish, adjectivelightly, adverblightness, noun

Word Origin for light

Old English lēoht; related to Dutch licht, Gothic leihts
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 make light of



"to illuminate, fill with brightness," Old English lyhtan, common Germanic (cf. Old Saxon liohtian, Old High German liuhtan, German leuchten, Gothic liuhtjan "to light"), from source of from light (n.). Related: Lighted; lighting.



"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)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

make light of in Medicine


  1. Electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength in the range from about 4,000 (violet) to about 7,700 (red) angstroms and may be perceived by the normal unaided human eye.
  2. Electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

make light of in Science


  1. Electromagnetic radiation that can be perceived by the human eye. It is made up of electromagnetic waves with wavelengths between 4 X 10-7 and 7 X 10-7 meters. Light, and all other electromagnetic radiation, travels at a speed of about 299,728 km (185,831 mi) per second in a vacuum. See also photon.
  2. Electromagnetic energy of a wavelength just outside the range the human eye can detect, such as infrared light and ultraviolet light. See Note at electromagnetic radiation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

make light of in Culture


The type of electromagnetic wave that is visible to the human eye. Visible light runs along a spectrum from the short wavelengths of violet to the longer wavelengths of red. (See photon.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with make light of

make light of

Also, make little of. Treat as unimportant, as in He made light of his allergies, or She made little of the fact that she'd won. The first term, which uses light in the sense of “trivial,” was first recorded in William Tyndale's 1526 Bible translation (Matthew 22:5), in the parable of the wedding feast, where the invited guests reject the king's invitation: “They made light of it and went their ways.” The variant dates from the early 1800s. For an antonym, see make much of.


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

also see:

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