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noun (1)

light·​ness ˈlīt-nəs How to pronounce lightness (audio)
: the quality or state of being illuminated
the lightness [=brightness] of the room/sky
: the attribute of object colors by which the object appears to reflect or transmit more or less of the incident light compare brightness sense 2, hue sense 2c, saturation sense 4
: the quality or state of having or being a light (see light entry 2 sense 2a) skin color
"As long as there's White racism, there will be racism within the Black community and favoritism for lightness."Midge Wilson
Elmore had a very fair complexion. And while he had never used the lightness of his skin to pass as white, the clerk who took his voter registration paperwork never asked the question. And just like that, George Elmore registered to vote.Antjuan Seawright


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noun (2)

: the quality or state of being light especially in weight
: lack of seriousness and stability of character often accompanied by casual heedlessness
: the quality or state of being nimble
: an ease and gaiety of style or manner
: a lack of weightiness or force : delicacy

Examples of lightness in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Good for Kirk and Simpson, who are up there playing with such lightness and care through the kind of brave work that doesn’t shout about its bravery. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 12 Sep. 2023 The space is as somber as a medieval tomb and as spare as a Brutalist gallery, but there’s a hint of lightness and earthiness—via two skylights, under one of which is planted an evergreen shady lady tree. Véronique Hyland, ELLE, 7 Sep. 2023 On the one hand, the lightness of the flight scenes. Boris Sollazzo, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2023 Children will learn how to understand the concepts of heaviness and lightness. Parents Editors, Parents, 23 Aug. 2023 The ideal upholds lightness, success and wealth as desirable traits in social settings. Daysia Tolentino, NBC News, 24 Aug. 2023 But over time their lightness, breathability and support more than outweighed any initial misgivings. Samson McDougall, Health, 4 Aug. 2023 Its lightness seeps into every input, and every reaction to the road. Tim Pitt, Robb Report, 11 July 2023 In every episode there is humor and joy and lightness and poignancy. Chris Willman, Variety, 21 June 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

Noun (1)

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

Noun (2)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near lightness

Cite this Entry

“Lightness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on lightness

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