alight

verb
\ 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

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 alight (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for alight

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 At their best, special effects, such as Harkonnens’ bombing House Atreides, alight both the planet’s night sky and the audience’s imagination. Jill Krajewski, Vulture, "David Lynch’s Dune Is a Beautiful Sci-fi Disaster," 29 Mar. 2021 After smashing a record in his homeland, and setting the charts alight around the globe, The Kid Laroi inks a worldwide deal with Sony Music Publishing. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Sony Music Publishing Signs The Kid Laroi to Global Deal," 23 Feb. 2021 To simply point out that Trump had improbably managed to alight on the correct course of action was to have written a favorable profile of Osama bin Laden. WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: The Thrill of Covering Trump," 15 Feb. 2021 And on Monday night, a bouquet of flowers alight with Christmas ornaments appeared in front of vacant homes. Los Angeles Times, "Activists wield bolt cutters in a tense L.A. neighborhood as poor families seize empty homes," 23 Dec. 2020 Other suggestions include burying electrical lines to prevent birds from perching on utility poles near burners or building taller structures for the birds to alight away from the stacks. National Geographic, "Invisible menace: Methane flares scorching birds at U.S. landfills," 20 Nov. 2020 After just two days, the A.I. alighted on baricitinib, a drug that was originally designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "A.I. engineers should spend time training not just algorithms, but also the humans who use them," 5 May 2020 At some point, every American president, from the serious men on down to the honking, needy, pathetic, and preposterous Trump, have somehow all always alighted on the very same answer. David Roth, The New Republic, "The Windbag of War," 21 Jan. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The man had spilled gasoline on himself while trying to start a fire and accidentally set himself alight. Sara Tabin, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah brothers win national award for helping victims of plane crash," 25 Mar. 2021 Adults carrying babies and holding the hands of young children alight from the craft. Los Angeles Times, "The other Rio Grande: Central American migrants navigate jungle river en route to the United States," 23 Mar. 2021 Cannonborough/Elliotborough is alight with creativity and delicious treats; pick up a cupcake from Sugar Bakeshop while walking along Cannon Street. Lydia Mansel, Travel + Leisure, "Charleston Travel Guide," 1 Mar. 2021 Yet his bland style has not set the broader electorate alight. Washington Post, "Head of Germany’s biggest state takes helm of Angela Merkel’s party — and shot to succeed her as chancellor," 16 Jan. 2021 Often, a pair of pigeons alight on nearby rooftops, their cooing a gentle nudge that a larger world still exists beyond our fraught lives. Washington Post, "A concise guide to birding in your own backyard," 11 Dec. 2020 Wonder which royal stories will set Twitter alight in 2021! Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are the Most Tweeted About Royals of 2020," 15 Dec. 2020 For the reader, it’s all exhilaratingly topsy-turvy, as Taubes’s first two sections are alight with literary fireworks while the last two sections settle surprisingly into more sober prose. Washington Post, "Susan Taubes’s recently reissued ‘Divorcing’ is as haunting as ever," 29 Oct. 2020 In Lagos, several key buildings have been attacked and set alight by unknown persons. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Nigerians fear an internet shutdown but power cuts and fuel shortages hurt more amid protests," 21 Oct. 2020

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

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alight. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for alight

alight

verb

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

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

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

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!