\ 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



Definition of alight (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Other Words from alight


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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The rockets hit at random, setting buildings and at least one car alight over different city blocks. New York Times, 17 Apr. 2022 Fighting fire with fire might sound counterintuitive, but the practice gets rid of dry vegetation that can alight easily and make for intense flames that are harder to fight. Katie Hunt, CNN, 9 Apr. 2022 Jack Kerouac lives in pop culture memory as a writer on a perpetual road trip, a shooting star riding the highways and rails of postwar America alight with Catholic mysticism, booze, bebop and outlaw liberation. Douglas Brinkley, WSJ, 11 Mar. 2022 Every day, social media is alight with users posting the green and yellow boxes indicating their scores. Leah Asmelash, CNN, 1 Feb. 2022 Which is how Shuttleworth continues to alight here three times a year for monthlong stays on his properties, enabling him to remain involved, firsthand, with HBD’s efforts. Mark Ellwood, Robb Report, 30 Jan. 2022 Introduced in November, Melina is already one of the best restaurants to alight in Montgomery County in recent memory. Washington Post, 21 Dec. 2021 The app also will alight on Comcast’s new XClass TV line of smart television sets built for streaming, which for the first time extends Comcast’s streaming-entertainment platform outside its footprint. Todd Spangler, Variety, 28 Oct. 2021 Even though the Pokémon Oreos taste exactly like other non-Pokémon Oreos, social media has been alight with raves and reviews of the cookies. Leah Asmelash, CNN, 28 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Due to set our screens alight in the second series of Bridgerton (which airs March 25), the 26-year-old actor paired her fuchsia Valentino jumpsuit with a smoldering-but-natural beauty look. Hannah Coates, Vogue, 14 Mar. 2022 Angry job seekers torched trains and set tires alight in northeastern India this week out of frustration over widespread unemployment and what many applicants say is an unfair recruitment process in the country’s massive railway sector. Washington Post, 28 Jan. 2022 The Collective Security Treaty Organization answered Tokayev’s appeal for help and sent in 2,500 peacekeeping forces Thursday after protesters rioted in cities across the country, setting government buildings alight and looting the Almaty airport. Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2022 At checkpoints, choking plumes of black smoke rise from burning tires set alight by security forces to keep warm. New York Times, 7 Feb. 2022 Canadian artist Cassils has been set alight on stage, wrestled a 2,000-pound block of clay in the pitch dark and trained as a bodybuilder on a cocktail of steroids, raw eggs and protein. Leah Dolan, CNN, 13 Oct. 2021 In Almaty, the mob grew increasingly violent, attacking official buildings and setting them alight. James Marson, WSJ, 12 Jan. 2022 The black flame candle is alight to the Sanderson sisters’ delight. Alexia Fernández,, 1 Nov. 2021 The black flame candle is alight to the Sanderson sisters' delight. Chloe Melas, CNN, 2 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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


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


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

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

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Statistics for alight

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Alight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for alight


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on alight

Nglish: Translation of alight for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alight for Arabic Speakers


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