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.

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Among the passengers who alighted was a young woman from Santa Barbara. Peter Rowe, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Tim Means, Baja California ecotourism pioneer, dies at the age of 75," 28 Aug. 2019 Woodpeckers will sometimes alight on your house and start their rat-a-tat heading. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "The percussive appeal of the woodpecker," 17 July 2019 Victorino roughly estimated the flames scorched 19 square miles (50 square kilometers) of mostly former sugar cane land since alighting Thursday. Washington Post, "Heat, wind fuel brush fire on Hawaii island of Maui," 12 July 2019 If all goes well, Vikram will touch down on the moon on September 6, alighting onto one of two candidate landing sites between the crater Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a latitude of about 70 degrees south. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "India's historic moon mission launches toward lunar south pole," 22 July 2019 The Lake Erie coastline is should expect billions of the annoying bugs to alight on signs, walls, patio furniture and just about any outdoor space in the next few weeks. Mary Kilpatrick, cleveland.com, "Take note, Clevelanders. Mayflies begin to emerge from Lake Erie," 18 June 2019 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 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.

See More

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about alight

Time Traveler for alight

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for alight

Cite this Entry

“Alight.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alights. Accessed 9 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

contradictory or incongruous words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!