1 of 2


alighted also alit ə-ˈlit How to pronounce alight (audio) ; alighting

intransitive verb

: to come down from something (such as a vehicle): such as
: dismount
They alighted from the bus.
: 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
archaic : to come by chance
alightment noun


2 of 2


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

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
In this desert playground, a live performance can awaken the deepest part of your soul, a wind-milling art installation can alight your inner child and a stellar food spread can give you the energy to sing your heart out all night. Danielle Dorsey, Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr. 2024 Almost immediately, Thom had my shoulder, his eyes alight with a miracle. Frederick Kaufman, Harper's Magazine, 26 Feb. 2024 Brian Jones’ iconic fringe haircut flew thousands of miles to California, where his and the band’s look quickly alighted on the Byrds, Love and the Jefferson Airplane. Jem Aswad, Variety, 17 Apr. 2024 The bird took flight again, finally alighting on the boat, where Mr. Yilmaz tossed him fish after fish. Safak Timur Ivor Prickett, New York Times, 30 Mar. 2024 One recuperating bird escaped the hands of a caretaker and alighted on top of a shelf. Jess McHugh, Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2024 Taylor Swift is expected to alight at the Super Bowl next Sunday — and gambling sites are ready for it. Todd Spangler, Variety, 5 Feb. 2024 Beavers, quail, and deer, which haven’t been seen in the area in decades, tiptoe through swampy ponds early in the morning, while migratory birds alight overnight on knolls before flying south. Jake Bittle, WIRED, 6 Jan. 2024 On a recent evening, just before sunset, a police helicopter alighted, paused for a few minutes with its propeller spinning, then took off again. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, 29 Dec. 2023
The strongest geomagnetic storm in nearly 20 years began slamming into Earth on Friday, and as nightfall approaches in Idaho, there’s a good chance the Gem State’s sky could be alight with aurora borealis — the northern lights. Shaun Goodwin, Idaho Statesman, 10 May 2024 In the hours since the Grammys wrapped up, the fanbase has been alight with memes pointing out the link between the two. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 5 Feb. 2024 The internet is alight with photographs of Swift celebrating with Kelce after his team, the Kansas City Chiefs, defeated the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday to secure a spot in the Super Bowl on Feb. 11 against the San Francisco 49ers. Eleanor Pringle, Fortune, 29 Jan. 2024 Mulu’s phone is constantly alight with calls from women in crisis. Katharine Houreld, Washington Post, 26 Nov. 2023 Lately, our neighborhood’s message boards and online community gifting page are alight with parents trying to make space, to clear out the things their kids no longer need. Caitlin Gibson, Washington Post, 13 Dec. 2023 Jones sets up with his feet staggered, knees bent, right hand on alight kettlebell. Matt Gagne, Men's Health, 15 Aug. 2023 Our hands are increasingly the center of attention—as much accessories as our jewelry and handbags—which is why social media is alight with an array of different nail trends, all of which just might inspire your next look. Valentina Bottoni, Vogue, 3 Aug. 2023 Social media is alight with images of military airstrikes pummeling the capital and accounts of families pulverized by heavy weapons. Hafiz Haroun, Washington Post, 17 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'alight.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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.

First Known Use


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Cite this Entry

“Alight.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
also alit ə-ˈlit How to pronounce alight (audio) ; alighting
: to get down : dismount
: to descend from the air and settle : land
the bird alighted on a twig


2 of 2 adjective
: full of light : lighted up
the sky was alight with stars

More from Merriam-Webster on alight

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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