light·​ly | \ ˈlīt-lē How to pronounce lightly (audio) \

Definition of lightly

: in a light manner: such as
a : with little weight or force : gently
b : with indifference or carelessness : unconcernedly the problem should not be passed over lightly— Shelly Halpern
c : with little difficulty : easily
e : in an agile manner : nimbly, swiftly the cat leapt lightly onto the table
f : in a small degree or amount lightly salted food

Examples of lightly in a Sentence

He talks lightly about the problems he's been having at work. She moved lightly across the room. These vegetables can be eaten either raw or lightly cooked. Our troops were armed too lightly to take on the heavily armed invaders. Considering the harm he did, he's gotten off lightly with only a warning. The judge let her off lightly with a short sentence. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The following conversation has been lightly edited. Chris Bieri, Anchorage Daily News, 12 May 2022 Portions of this interview have been lightly edited for clarity. Hannah Oh, Seventeen, 11 May 2022 Questions and answers have been lightly edited for clarity. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 8 May 2022 This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. Janice Gassam Asare, Forbes, 6 May 2022 The conversation over Zoom and email has been lightly edited. Philip Elliott, Time, 30 Apr. 2022 Candidate responses have been edited lightly for formatting and brevity. oregonlive, 29 Apr. 2022 In the coming year, finding skilled engineers will be challenging—to put it lightly. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 Next, lightly till the soil, put down about an inch of compost, and work that into the top half-inch of soil. Deanna Kizis, Sunset Magazine, 20 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lightly.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of lightly

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for lightly

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near lightly

light lock


light machine gun

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Statistics for lightly

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lightly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on lightly

Nglish: Translation of lightly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lightly for Arabic Speakers


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