alight

verb
\ ə-ˈlīt How to pronounce alight (audio) \
alighted also alit\ ə-​ˈlit How to pronounce alight (audio) \; alighting

Definition of alight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to come down from something (such as a vehicle): such as
a : dismount They alighted from the bus.
b : deplane
2 : to descend from or as if from the air and come to rest : land, settle The bird alighted on a branch. snow alighting on a roof
3 archaic : to come by chance

alight

adjective

Definition of alight (Entry 2 of 2)

1 chiefly British : being on fire
2 : lighted up The sky was alight with stars.

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Other Words from alight

Verb

alightment \ ə-​ˈlīt-​mənt How to pronounce alight (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for alight

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of alight in a Sentence

Verb A group of tourists alighted from the boat. a flock of eight swans circled above, then alighted on the pond Adjective The sky was alight with stars. Enemy soldiers set the building alight.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And on Monday night, a bouquet of flowers alight with Christmas ornaments appeared in front of vacant homes. Los Angeles Times, "Activists wield bolt cutters in a tense L.A. neighborhood as poor families seize empty homes," 23 Dec. 2020 Other suggestions include burying electrical lines to prevent birds from perching on utility poles near burners or building taller structures for the birds to alight away from the stacks. National Geographic, "Invisible menace: Methane flares scorching birds at U.S. landfills," 20 Nov. 2020 After just two days, the A.I. alighted on baricitinib, a drug that was originally designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "A.I. engineers should spend time training not just algorithms, but also the humans who use them," 5 May 2020 At some point, every American president, from the serious men on down to the honking, needy, pathetic, and preposterous Trump, have somehow all always alighted on the very same answer. David Roth, The New Republic, "The Windbag of War," 21 Jan. 2020 William Moon was standing on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday, his trusty Canon 80D camera at the ready as President Trump alighted from Marine One, the presidential helicopter. Washington Post, "What was going on with that startling sunset photo of Trump on Twitter?," 10 Feb. 2020 Areas that almost never burn, including rain forests home to rare, endemic species, have alighted. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "When Will Australia’s Prime Minister Accept the Reality of the Climate Crisis?," 15 Jan. 2020 He's used to living like an emperor who relished nothing more than circling the globe and alighting to pose with heads of state. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Carlos Ghosn Is Now a Fugitive In Exile. Here Are His Legal Options, According to Experts," 10 Jan. 2020 The music fans who would have streamed into Coachella and the cinephiles alighting in Cannes retrace ancient routs and rites of pilgrimage. New York Times, "What Happens When We Lose the Art That Brings Us Together?," 20 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Yet his bland style has not set the broader electorate alight. Washington Post, "Head of Germany’s biggest state takes helm of Angela Merkel’s party — and shot to succeed her as chancellor," 16 Jan. 2021 Often, a pair of pigeons alight on nearby rooftops, their cooing a gentle nudge that a larger world still exists beyond our fraught lives. Washington Post, "A concise guide to birding in your own backyard," 11 Dec. 2020 Wonder which royal stories will set Twitter alight in 2021! Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are the Most Tweeted About Royals of 2020," 15 Dec. 2020 For the reader, it’s all exhilaratingly topsy-turvy, as Taubes’s first two sections are alight with literary fireworks while the last two sections settle surprisingly into more sober prose. Washington Post, "Susan Taubes’s recently reissued ‘Divorcing’ is as haunting as ever," 29 Oct. 2020 In Lagos, several key buildings have been attacked and set alight by unknown persons. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Nigerians fear an internet shutdown but power cuts and fuel shortages hurt more amid protests," 21 Oct. 2020 The Nigeria police force said in a tweet that protesters carted away arms and ammunition from the armory before freeing suspects in custody and setting the facilities alight. Eoin Mcsweeney, CNN, "President calls for calm after protesters shot during Nigeria demonstration," 21 Oct. 2020 Dozens of trucks carrying lumber have been set alight in furious protest. Eduardo Thomson, Bloomberg.com, "Amid Fire and Clashes, Chile’s Mapuche See Road to Reparations," 15 Oct. 2020 And so late one night, when a young man and woman alight from a carriage and enter the house next door — a house that Miss Butterworth knows to be vacant — and the man leaves alone, well, Amelia is all over it. Anna Katharine Green, Star Tribune, "Quarantine read: 'That Affair Next Door'," 25 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alight.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alight

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alight

Verb

Middle English alighten "to descend, get off (of), dismount," going back to Old English alīhtan (transitive) "to lighten, relieve," (intransitive) "to descend, get off (of)," from a-, perfective prefix + līhtan "to make lighter, descend, dismount" — more at abide, light entry 6

Adjective

Middle English alyht, alight, past participle of alighten "to set on fire, kindle, shed spiritual light on," going back to Old English alīhtan "to illuminate, light up," from a-, perfective prefix + līhtan "to shed light, set on fire" — more at abide, light entry 3

Note: In Modern English reanalyzed as a- entry 1 + light entry 1, by analogy with ablaze, afire, aflame.

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Time Traveler for alight

Time Traveler

The first known use of alight was before the 12th century

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Statistics for alight

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alight. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for alight

alight

verb

English Language Learners Definition of alight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

somewhat formal
of insects, birds, etc. : to stop on a surface after flying
: to step down from a boat, vehicle, etc.

alight

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of alight (Entry 2 of 2)

: full of light : lighted up
chiefly British : on fire

alight

verb
\ ə-ˈlīt How to pronounce alight (audio) \
alighted; alighting

Kids Definition of alight

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to get down : dismount The riders alighted from their horses.
2 : to come down from the air and settle Butterflies alighted on the flowers.

alight

adjective

Kids Definition of alight (Entry 2 of 2)

: full of light : lighted up The sky was alight with stars. His face was alight with excitement.

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Comments on alight

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