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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Our lightly optioned test car would eat 147,280 greenbacks. Elana Scherr, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet Gives Up Little to the Coupe," 11 Mar. 2020 Gardeners use baking soda by very, very lightly dusting it over the area infested with crabgrass in the late afternoon when dew is expected during the night. Tom Maccubbin,, "Groom, don’t prune hydrangeas," 5 Oct. 2019 Bake until the brioche cups are heated through and the tops of the spears are very lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News, "“Downton Abbey” Recipe: Asparagus Cups," 1 Sep. 2019 Toss the fried chicken tenders lightly in the butter mixture. The View, ABC News, "Eat guilt-free thanks to these keto comfort food recipes," 6 Mar. 2020 And yet the crossed back—which is made up of two separate pieces that lie flat on top of each other—and the built-in, lightly padded cups somehow keep my D's (sometimes double-D's) in check with minimal bouncing. Rozalynn S. Frazier, SELF, "This New Sports Bra for Runners Makes Me Feel Like a Million Bucks," 4 Mar. 2020 The four-cylinder Mercedes-Benz E350 and six-cylinder E450 models along with the AMG E53 both receive a new look that includes lightly redesigned front and rear ends. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, "2021 Mercedes E-Class Expands Inline-Six Availability, Adds Hybrid," 3 Mar. 2020 There are also plenty of states that have been pretty lightly polled that could prove decisive in splitting delegates so many ways that even Sanders will struggle to put together a majority by June. David Faris, TheWeek, "The 3 most likely Super Tuesday outcomes," 3 Mar. 2020 For now, Vines and her team have issued basic guidance with fairly standard advice about washing hands, considering future childcare plans, and lightly stocking up on food. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "The Gig Economy Has Never Been Tested by a Pandemic," 28 Feb. 2020

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.

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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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Statistics for lightly

Last Updated

25 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lightly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for lightly


How to pronounce lightly (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lightly

: with little weight or force
: without care or concern : in a way that is not serious
: in a quick and graceful way

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More from Merriam-Webster on lightly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lightly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lightly

Spanish Central: Translation of lightly

Nglish: Translation of lightly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lightly for Arabic Speakers

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