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 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 In desperation, Héloïse’s mother alights upon a tricky solution, keeping the painter’s profession a secret and posing her as Héloïse’s new companion. Barbara Vandenburgh, azcentral, "5-star ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ is an instantly iconic work of queer romantic cinema," 12 Feb. 2020 But the location alighted upon, across the street from the Capitol and conveniently close to Union Station, happened to house the headquarters of the NWP. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The secret feminist history of the US Supreme Court," 13 Feb. 2020 Before long, news organizations picked up the story and social media networks, including Twitter, were alight with calls for Phansey to be fired. Deirdre Fernandes, BostonGlobe.com, "Academics, authors come to the defense of fired Babson College employee," 22 Jan. 2020 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 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

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alight. Accessed 28 May. 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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