Definitions for: Light

[n] any device serving as a source of illumination; "he stopped the car and turned off the lights"
[n] a device for lighting or igniting fuel or charges or fires; "do you have a light?"
[n] the visual effect of illumination on objects or scenes as created in pictures; "he could paint the lightest light and the darkest dark"
[n] brightness and animation of countenance; "he had a sparkle in his eye"
[n] the quality of being luminous; emitting or reflecting light; "its luminosity is measured relative to that of our sun"
[n] public awareness; "it brought the scandal to light"
[n] mental understanding as an enlightening experience; "he finally saw the light"; "can you shed light on this problem?"
[n] a particular perspective or aspect of a situation; "although he saw it in a different light, he still did not understand"
[n] a visual warning signal; "they saw the light of the beacon"; "there was a light at every corner"
[n] an illuminated area; "he stepped into the light"
[n] a divine presence believed by Quakers to enlighten and guide the soul
[n] a person regarded very fondly; "the light of my life"
[n] (physics) electromagnetic radiation that can produce a visual sensation; "the light was filtered through a soft glass window"
[n] having abundant light or illumination; "they played as long as it was light" or"as long as the lighting was good"
[n] a condition of spiritual awareness; divine illumination; "follow God's light"
[adv] with few burdens; "experienced travellers travel light"
[adj] characterized by or emitting light; "a room that is light when the shutters are open"; "the inside of the house was airy and light"
[adj] casual and unrestrained in sexual behavior; "her easy virtue"; "he was told to avoid loose (or light) women"; "wanton behavior"
[adj] (used of color) having a relatively small amount of coloring agent; "light blue"; "light colors such as pastels"; "a light-colored powder"
[adj] (used of soil) loose and large-grained in consistency; "light sandy soil"
[adj] (of sleep) easily disturbed; "in a light doze"; "a light sleeper"; "a restless wakeful night"
[adj] demanding little effort; not burdensome; "light housework"; "light exercise"
[adj] having relatively few calories; "diet cola"; "light (or lite) beer"; "lite (or light) mayonnaise"; "a low-cal diet"
[adj] easily assimilated in the alimentary canal; not rich or heavily seasoned; "a light diet"
[adj] of comparatively little physical weight or density; "a light load"; "magnesium is a light metal--having a specific gravity of 1.74 at 20 degrees C"
[adj] designed for ease of movement or to carry little weight; "light aircraft"; "a light truck"
[adj] psychologically light; especially free from sadness or troubles; "a light heart"
[adj] not great in degree or quantity or number; "a light sentence"; "a light accent"; "casualties were light"; "light snow was falling"; "light misty rain"; "light smoke from the chimney"
[adj] (physics, chemistry) not having atomic weight greater than average; "light water is ordinary water"
[adj] of little intensity or power or force; "the light touch of her fingers"; "a light breeze"
[adj] moving easily and quickly; nimble; "the dancer was light and graceful"; "a lightsome buoyant step"; "walked with a light tripping step"
[adj] of the military or industry; using (or being) relatively small or light arms or equipment; "light infantry"; "light cavalry"; "light industry"; "light weapons"
[adj] having a spongy or flaky texture; well-leavened; "light pastries"
[adj] (of sound or color) free from anything that dulls or dims; "efforts to obtain a clean bass in orchestral recordings"; "clear laughter like a waterfall"; "clear reds and blues"; "a light lilting voice like a silver bell"
[adj] silly or trivial; "idle pleasure"; "light banter"; "light idle chatter"
[adj] intended primarily as entertainment; not serious or profound; "light verse"; "a light comedy"
[adj] having little importance; "losing his job was no light matter"
[adj] used of vowels or syllables; pronounced with little or no stress; "a syllable that ends in a short vowel is a light syllable"; "a weak stress on the second syllable"
[adj] less than the correct or legal or full amount often deliberately so; "a light pound"; "a scant cup of sugar"; "regularly gives short weight"
[adj] very thin and insubstantial; "thin paper"; "flimsy voile"; "light summer dresses"
[adj] weak and likely to lose consciousness; "suddenly felt faint from the pain"; "was sick and faint from hunger"; "felt light in the head"; "a swooning fit"; "light-headed with wine"; "light-headed from lack of sleep"
[v] make lighter or brighter; "This lamp lightens the room a bit"
[v] begin to smoke; "After the meal, some of the diners lit up"
[v] get off (a horse)
[v] to come to rest, settle; "Misfortune lighted upon him."
[v] fall to somebody by assignment or lot; "The task fell to me"; "It fell to me to notify the parents of the victims"
[v] cause to start burning; subject to fire or great heat; "Great heat can ignite almost any dry matter"; "Light a cigarette"

Webster (1913) Definition: Light (l[imac]t), n. [OE. light, liht, AS. le['o]ht;
akin to OS. lioht, D. & G. licht, OHG. lioht, Goth.
liuha[thorn], Icel. lj[=o]s, L. lux light, lucere to shine,
Gr. leyko`s white, Skr. ruc to shine. [root]122. Cf. Lucid,
Lunar, Luminous, Lynx.]
1. That agent, force, or action in nature by the operation of
which upon the organs of sight, objects are rendered
visible or luminous.

Note: Light was regarded formerly as consisting of material
particles, or corpuscules, sent off in all directions
from luminous bodies, and traversing space, in right
lines, with the known velocity of about 186,300 miles
per second; but it is now generally understood to
consist, not in any actual transmission of particles or
substance, but in the propagation of vibrations or
undulations in a subtile, elastic medium, or ether,
assumed to pervade all space, and to be thus set in
vibratory motion by the action of luminous bodies, as
the atmosphere is by sonorous bodies. This view of the
nature of light is known as the undulatory or wave
theory; the other, advocated by Newton (but long since
abandoned), as the corpuscular, emission, or Newtonian
theory. A more recent theory makes light to consist in
electrical oscillations, and is known as the
electro-magnetic theory of light.

2. That which furnishes, or is a source of, light, as the
sun, a star, a candle, a lighthouse, etc.

Then he called for a light, and sprang in. --Acts
xvi. 29.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to
rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the
night. --Gen. i. 16.

3. The time during which the light of the sun is visible;
day; especially, the dawn of day.

The murderer, rising with the light, killeth the
poor and needy. --Job xxiv.

4. The brightness of the eye or eyes.

He seemed to find his way without his eyes; For out
o' door he went without their helps, And, to the
last, bended their light on me. --Shak.

5. The medium through which light is admitted, as a window,
or window pane; a skylight; in architecture, one of the
compartments of a window made by a mullion or mullions.

There were windows in three rows, and light was
against light in three ranks. --I Kings

6. Life; existence.

O, spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born!

7. Open view; a visible state or condition; public
observation; publicity.

The duke yet would have dark deeds darkly answered;
he would never bring them to light. --Shak.

8. The power of perception by vision.

My strength faileth me; as for the light of my eyes,
it also is gone from me. --Ps. xxxviii.

9. That which illumines or makes clear to the mind; mental or
spiritual illumination; enlightenment; knowledge;

He shall never know That I had any light of this
from thee. --Shak.

10. Prosperity; happiness; joy; felicity.

Then shall thy light break forth as the morning,
and thy health shall spring forth speedily. --Is.
lviii. 8.

11. (Paint.) The manner in which the light strikes upon a
picture; that part of a picture which represents those
objects upon which the light is supposed to fall; the
more illuminated part of a landscape or other scene; --
opposed to shade. Cf. Chiaroscuro.

12. Appearance due to the particular facts and circumstances
presented to view; point of view; as, to state things
fairly and put them in the right light.

Frequent consideration of a thing . . . shows it in
its several lights and various ways of appearance.

13. One who is conspicuous or noteworthy; a model or example;
as, the lights of the age or of antiquity.

Joan of Arc, A light of ancient France. --Tennyson.

14. (Pyrotech.) A firework made by filling a case with a
substance which burns brilliantly with a white or colored
flame; as, a Bengal light.

Note: Light is used figuratively to denote that which
resembles physical light in any respect, as
illuminating, benefiting, enlightening, or enlivening

Ancient lights (Law), Calcium light, Flash light, etc.
See under Ancient, Calcium, etc.

Light ball (Mil.), a ball of combustible materials, used to
afford light; -- sometimes made so as to be fired from a
cannon or mortar, or to be carried up by a rocket.

Light barrel (Mil.), an empty powder barrel pierced with
holes and filled with shavings soaked in pitch, used to
light up a ditch or a breach.

Light dues (Com.), tolls levied on ships navigating certain
waters, for the maintenance of lighthouses.

Light iron, a candlestick. [Obs.]

Light keeper, a person appointed to take care of a
lighthouse or light-ship.

Light money, charges laid by government on shipping
entering a port, for the maintenance of lighthouses and

The light of the countenance, favor; kindness; smiles.

Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon
us. --Ps. iv. 6.

Northern lights. See Aurora borealis, under Aurora.

To bring to light, to cause to be disclosed.

To come to light, to be disclosed.

To see the light, to come into the light; hence, to come
into the world or into public notice; as, his book never
saw the light.

To stand in one's own light, to take a position which is
injurious to one's own interest.

Light (l[imac]t), a. [AS. le['o]ht. See Light, n.]
[Compar. Lighter (-[~e]r); superl. Lightest.]
1. Having light; not dark or obscure; bright; clear; as, the
apartment is light.

2. White or whitish; not intense or very marked; not of a
deep shade; moderately colored; as, a light color; a light
brown; a light complexion.

Light, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Lighted (-[e^]d) or Lit
(l[i^]t); p. pr. & vb. n. Lighting.] [AS. l[=y]htan,
l[=i]htan, to shine. [root]122. See Light, n.]
1. To set fire to; to cause to burn; to set burning; to
ignite; to kindle; as, to light a candle or lamp; to light
the gas; -- sometimes with up.

If a thousand candles be all lighted from one.

And the largest lamp is lit. --Macaulay.

Absence might cure it, or a second mistress Light up
another flame, and put out this. --Addison.

2. To give light to; to illuminate; to fill with light; to
spread over with light; -- often with up.

Ah, hopeless, lasting flames ! like those that burn
To light the dead. --Pope.

One hundred years ago, to have lit this theater as
brilliantly as it is now lighted would have cost, I
suppose, fifty pounds. --F. Harrison.

The sun has set, and Vesper, to supply His absent
beams, has lighted up the sky. --Dryden.

3. To attend or conduct with a light; to show the way to by
means of a light.

His bishops lead him forth, and light him on.

To light a fire, to kindle the material of a fire.

Light, v. i.
1. To become ignited; to take fire; as, the match will not

2. To be illuminated; to receive light; to brighten; -- with
up; as, the room lights up very well.

Light, a. [Compar. Lighter (-[~e]r); superl.
Lightest.] [OE. light, liht, AS. l[=i]ht, le['o]ht; akin to
D. ligt, G. leicht, OHG. l[=i]hti, Icel. l[=e]ttr, Dan. let,
Sw. l["a]tt, Goth. leihts, and perh. to L. levis (cf.
Levity), Gr. 'elachy`s small, Skr. laghu light. [root]125.
1. Having little, or comparatively little, weight; not
tending to the center of gravity with force; not heavy.

These weights did not exert their natural gravity, .
. . insomuch that I could not guess which was light
or heavy whilst I held them in my hand. --Addison.

2. Not burdensome; easy to be lifted, borne, or carried by
physical strength; as, a light burden, or load.

Ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is
easy, and my burden is light. --Matt. xi.
29, 30.

3. Easy to be endured or performed; not severe; not
difficult; as, a light affliction or task. --Chaucer.

Light sufferings give us leisure to complain.

4. Easy to be digested; not oppressive to the stomach; as,
light food; also, containing little nutriment.

5. Not heavily armed; armed with light weapons; as, light
troops; a troop of light horse.

6. Not encumbered; unembarrassed; clear of impediments;
hence, active; nimble; swift.

Unmarried men are best friends, best masters . . .
but not always best subjects, for they are light to
run away. --Bacon.

7. Not heavily burdened; not deeply laden; not sufficiently
ballasted; as, the ship returned light.

8. Slight; not important; as, a light error. --Shak.

9. Well leavened; not heavy; as, light bread.

10. Not copious or heavy; not dense; not inconsiderable; as,
a light rain; a light snow; light vapors.

11. Not strong or violent; moderate; as, a light wind.

12. Not pressing heavily or hard upon; hence, having an easy,
graceful manner; delicate; as, a light touch; a light
style of execution.

13. Easy to admit influence; inconsiderate; easily influenced
by trifling considerations; unsteady; unsettled;
volatile; as, a light, vain person; a light mind.

There is no greater argument of a light and
inconsiderate person than profanely to scoff at
religion. --Tillotson.

14. Indulging in, or inclined to, levity; wanting dignity or
solemnity; trifling; gay; frivolous; airy; unsubstantial.

Seneca can not be too heavy, nor Plautus too light.

Specimens of New England humor laboriously light
and lamentably mirthful. --Hawthorne.

15. Not quite sound or normal; somewhat impaired or deranged;
dizzy; giddy.

Are his wits safe? Is he not light of brain ?

16. Easily bestowed; inconsiderately rendered.

To a fair semblance doth light faith annex.

17. Wanton; unchaste; as, a woman of light character.

A light wife doth make a heavy husband. --Shak.

18. Not of the legal, standard, or usual weight; clipped;
diminished; as, light coin.

19. Loose; sandy; easily pulverized; as, a light soil.

Light cavalry, Light horse (Mil.), light-armed soldiers
mounted on strong and active horses.

Light eater, one who eats but little.

Light infantry, infantry soldiers selected and trained for
rapid evolutions.

Light of foot.
(a) Having a light step.
(b) Fleet.

Light of heart, gay, cheerful.

Light oil (Chem.), the oily product, lighter than water,
forming the chief part of the first distillate of coal
tar, and consisting largely of benzene and toluene.

Light sails (Naut.), all the sails above the topsails,
with, also, the studding sails and flying jib. --Dana.

Light sleeper, one easily wakened.

Light weight, a prize fighter, boxer, wrestler, or jockey,
who is below a standard medium weight. Cf. {Feather
weight}, under Feather. [Cant]

To make light of, to treat as of little consequence; to
slight; to disregard.

To set light by, to undervalue; to slight; to treat as of
no importance; to despise.

Light (l[imac]t), adv.
Lightly; cheaply. --Hooker.

Light, v. t. [See Light not heavy, and cf. Light to
alight, and Lighten to make less heavy.]
To lighten; to ease of a burden; to take off. [Obs.]

From his head the heavy burgonet did light. --Spenser.

Light, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Lighted (-[e^]d) or Lit
(l[i^]t); p. pr. & vb. n. Lighting.] [AS. l[=i]htan to
alight, orig., to relieve (a horse) of the rider's burden, to
make less heavy, fr. l[=i]ht light. See Light not heavy,
and cf. Alight, Lighten to make light.]
1. To dismount; to descend, as from a horse or carriage; to
alight; -- with from, off, on, upon, at, in.

When she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.
--Gen. xxiv.

Slowly rode across a withered heath, And lighted at
a ruined inn. --Tennyson.

2. To feel light; to be made happy. [Obs.]

It made all their hearts to light. --Chaucer.

3. To descend from flight, and rest, perch, or settle, as a
bird or insect.

[The bee] lights on that, and this, and tasteth all.
--Sir. J.

On the tree tops a crested peacock lit. --Tennyson.

4. To come down suddenly and forcibly; to fall; -- with on or

On me, me only, as the source and spring Of all
corruption, all the blame lights due. --Milton.

5. To come by chance; to happen; -- with on or upon; formerly
with into.

The several degrees of vision, which the assistance
of glasses (casually at first lit on) has taught us
to conceive. --Locke.

They shall light into atheistical company. --South.

And here we lit on Aunt Elizabeth, And Lilia with
the rest. --Tennyson.

Synonyms: ablaze(p), airy, alight, bantamweight, bioluminescent, bright, brightness level, buoyant, candent, candescent, casual, chiffon, Christ Within, clean, clear, deficient, diet(a), digestible, dismount, easy, faint, fall, fat-free, fatless, featherlike, featherweight, feathery, fire up, flimsy, floaty, floodlighted, floodlit, fluorescent, flyweight, fooling, friable, frivolous, gentle, get down, get off, idle, ignite, igniter, ignitor, ill, illume, illuminate, illuminated, illuminating, illumine, incandescent, inflamed, Inner Light, insignificant, insufficient, lamplit, leavened, light source, light up, light up, Light Within, light-armed, light-colored, light-duty, lighted, lighter, light-footed, lightheaded, light-headed, lighting, lighting-up(a), lightly, lightly-armed, lightness, lightsome, lightweight, lit, lite, livid, loose, low-cal, low-density(p), luminance, luminescent, luminosity, luminousness, nonfat, pale, palish, pastel, perch, phosphorescent, powdery, promiscuous, pure, reddened, sandy, scant(p), shallow, short, sick, sluttish, soft, spark, sparkle, sunlit, sunstruck, swooning, thin, tripping, unaccented, unchaste, unclouded, undemanding, unhorse, unimportant, unstressed, visible light, visible radiation, wakeful, wanton, weak, well-lighted, white

Antonyms: dark, dark, darkness, extinguish, heavy, quench

See Also: achromatic, actinic radiation, actinic ray, anchor light, aspect, aura, aureole, beam, beam of light, blinker, brainstorm, brainwave, brightness, burn, candle flame, candlelight, cigar lighter, cigarette lighter, combust, come down, condition, conflagrate, corona, counterglow, daylight, descend, device, devolve, electromagnetic spectrum, enkindle, ethical motive, ethics, expression, face, facial expression, fairy light, fall, fire up, firelight, flare up, flasher, flood, flood lamp, floodlight, floodlight, fluorescence, friar's lantern, friction match, friend, fuse, fusee, fuze, fuzee, gaslight, gegenschein, general knowledge, gloriole, glory, glow, glow, glowing, go down, half-light, halo, headlamp, headlight, highlight, highlighting, houselights, ignis fatuus, ignite, illuminance, illumination, illumination, incandescence, incandescence, inflame, insight, irradiation, jack-o'-lantern, kindle, lamplight, land, light, light, light beam, light up, lighten, lighten up, look, lucifer, luminescence, luminescence, match, meteor, moon, moonlight, moonshine, morality, morals, navigation light, nightlight, nimbus, panel light, pass, perspective, photoflood, physical property, pocket lighter, position, primer, priming, public knowledge, radiance, ray, ray of light, reignite, return, riding lamp, riding light, room light, running light, scene, scintillation, searchlight, set down, shaft, shaft of light, shooting star, sidelight, smoke, source of illumination, spotlight, starlight, status, stoplight, streamer, strip lighting, sun, sunlight, sunniness, sunshine, theater light, torch, torchlight, traffic light, traffic signal, twilight, verve, view, visual property, visual signal, vitality, will-o'-the-wisp

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