\ 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.
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



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


alightment noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for alight

Synonyms: Verb

land, light, perch, roost, settle, touch down

Synonyms: Adjective

ablaze, bright, brightened, illuminated, illumined, light, lightsome, lit (or lighted)

Antonyms: Verb

blast off, take off

Antonyms: Adjective

blackened, dark, darkened, darkish, darkling, dimmed, dusk, dusky, lightless, pitch-black, pitch-dark, tenebrous, unlit

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Examples of alight in a Sentence


A group of tourists alighted from the boat. a flock of eight swans circled above, then alighted on the pond


The sky was alight with stars. Enemy soldiers set the building alight.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Much of the blame would alight on Mr. Gandhi’s leadership. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "India’s Rahul Gandhi Faces an Electoral Test," 15 Nov. 2018 Bomber rose, dove, and then alighted on Mr. Freeman’s glove. New York Times, "In Dubai, Flying With the Falcons," 17 Jan. 2018 The filmmaker Gilles de Maistre trails Mr. Ducasse — who in 1987 became one of the youngest chefs with three Michelin stars — around the world, alighting on his varied restaurants. Eric Roux, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Quest of Alain Ducasse’ Follows the Tastes of a Chef," 7 June 2018 The idea also ties in with the marble angels that have alighted in our signature high-rise cemeteries and our incurable compulsion to costume. Doug Maccash,, "300 tricentennial angels will pop up in one week (May 7)," 30 Apr. 2018 At the end of the six-minute boat ride, alighting on a dock in East Boston, Ms. Medvedow strode through an active shipyard and marina. New York Times, "In an East Boston Shipyard, a Watershed Idea for Art," 22 June 2018 The image is certainly eye catching: On a clear night at Emas National Park, Brazil, a giant anteater appears to be ambling around a termite mound, which is alight with glowing beetle larvae. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Contest Judges Rule Wildlife Photography Winner Used Taxidermic Creature," 30 Apr. 2018 Just lie back, gaze upward, and streaks of bright light should alight your eyes. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Summer is for meteor showers and stargazing. Here’s how to watch.," 22 June 2018 At any one time, 2,000 butterflies — iridescent, brilliantly colored, elaborately patterned, are flying through the air, alighting on the lush vegetation and occasionally on a visitor. New York Times, "Francine Prose on Montreal in the Spring: The Time of the Butterflies," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alight

Verb and Adjective

Middle English, from Old English ālīhtan, from ā- (perfective prefix) + līhtan to alight — more at abide, light

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Statistics for alight

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Time Traveler for alight

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

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More Definitions for alight



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.



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

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


\ 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.



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with alight

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alight

Spanish Central: Translation of alight

Nglish: Translation of alight for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alight for Arabic Speakers

Comments on alight

What made you want to look up alight? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having a desire to acquire more things

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