alight

verb
\ ə-ˈlīt How to pronounce alight (audio) \
alighted also alit\ ə-​ˈlit How to pronounce alit (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.
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 alightment (audio) \ noun

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 Passengers alighting at Vancouver International Airport land not in the city itself but in the bustling suburb of Richmond, British Columbia—a town filled with the best Chinese food outside (and, some argue, even within) China. Naomi Tomky, Fortune, "One of the best places to celebrate Lunar New Year is just outside Vancouver," 18 Jan. 2020 In one particularly violent incident in November, protesters set a man alight outside a subway station. NBC News, "In 2019, protesters took to the streets around the world to demand change," 24 Dec. 2019 That’s why 100 people alighted at 181 Fremont (a luxe high-rise that boasts a $46 million penthouse listing) for a McCalls cocktail party hosted by Cissie Swig. Catherine Bigelow, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco Fall Show: Art | Antiques | Design stays one step ahead; Michael Jang makes his own scene," 8 Oct. 2019 President Donald Trump posted an image of the American flag on Twitter Thursday night, as the social media platform alighted with speculation about U.S. involvement in the attacks. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "US launched Baghdad airstrike that killed Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani," 3 Jan. 2020 Twitter was immediately alight with tweets from progressives afterwards backing Sanders, arguing that climate change was climate justice. Time, "Biggest Takeaways of the December Democratic Debate," 21 Dec. 2019 Two more are barnstorming the country, with one alighting at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre from June 25 to July 21. Nelson Pressley, Washington Post, "How ‘Hamilton’ is paving the way for Broadway’s surging success on the road," 21 June 2019 Cora Riley’s Sorel is a mirror image of her mom and a captivating coquette, while A.J. Sclafani’s Simon hurls lethal verbal volleys and flits about the room like an animated Peter Pan, alighting on the most unconventional locations. Tom Titus, Daily Pilot, "On Theater: A hilarious “Hay Fever” at the Attic," 16 Sep. 2019 So while airlines can reroute some flights to nearby Oakland or San Jose (which are themselves busy), that’s a bad option for flights alighting on their way to Asia or Europe. Wired, "Why Your Flight to San Francisco Was Three Hours Late," 11 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In Assam and Tripura, angry protesters marched through major cities Wednesday night and Thursday, holding flaming torches and setting alight car tires and piles of cardboard. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Indian military deployed and internet shut down as protests rage against citizenship bill," 12 Dec. 2019 Several Palestinians this week flew kites with oil-drenched, burning rags on their tails in an attempt to set alight Israeli fields on the other side of the fence. Rory Jones, WSJ, "Palestinians Clash With Military on Heels of Israel’s 70th Birthday," 20 Apr. 2018 But social media was alight with posts from those scheduled to attend, those stranded at the airport in Miami and those stuck on the island showcasing the uncertain situation. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Fyre Festival Called Off Amid Island Chaos: Organizers, Bahamas Respond," 28 Apr. 2017

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

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alight. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for alight

alight

verb
How to pronounce alight (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on alight

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alight

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with alight

Spanish Central: Translation of alight

Nglish: Translation of alight for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alight for Arabic Speakers

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