alight

1 of 2

verb

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

intransitive verb

1
: to come down from something (such as a vehicle): such as
a
: dismount
They alighted from the bus.
b
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
alightment noun

alight

2 of 2

adjective

1
chiefly British : being on fire
2
: lighted up
The sky was alight with stars.

Example Sentences

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
Verb
Like teenagers walking into a cafeteria, bumblebees can make quick social calculations about the safest place to alight for a meal. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 9 May 2014 Birds can flap their wings to swoop, dive, glide, and alight on perches. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, 8 Feb. 2013 The singer, who recently set the internet alight with her new album Midnights, reflected on the disastrous audition while appearing on The Graham Norton Show alongside Oscar winner Redmaybe. Jabeen Waheed, Glamour, 31 Oct. 2022 As industry mavens alight on the Zurich Film Festival, escalating inflation costs and rising interest rates are hijacking dreams of a post-pandemic recovery and rebirth. Angus Finney, Variety, 19 Sep. 2022 Many protesters set their headscarves alight or hacked off their hair, and called for the downfall of the Iranian regime. Adela Suliman, Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2022 Milroe’s beautiful streak across and down the field on that 3rd-and-15 brought Alabama out of the darkness, and then Gibbs set this land of midnight Walmart alight with fire that chased down the dawn. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 1 Oct. 2022 Almost fifty years later the festival takes place over four days attracting people from all states and thirty-nine countries, who now alight at the Nissan Stadium. Allyson Portee, Forbes, 4 Aug. 2022 To then, not return to the carriage at the destination stop to check whether the passenger has been able to successfully alight, is frankly lazy at best and broadly negligent. Gus Alexiou, Forbes, 26 June 2022
Adjective
Jampa Yeshi, 27, a Tibetan protester, sets himself alight in New Delhi ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to India. CNN, 2 Jan. 2023 The most striking visual element is the floor-to-ceiling wood-burning fireplace, which offers a cozy spot to watch the snowflakes alight on the composite deck through a slider and windows that reach the ceiling. John R. Ellement, BostonGlobe.com, 28 Dec. 2022 As Noah Pierre ripped the ball away from Jayden Reed and sealed an unlikely, dramatic 39-31 double-overtime victory in East Lansing, Allen sprinted wildly across the Spartan Stadium field, arms aloft and eyes alight. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 19 Nov. 2022 Eva Galler was in her mid-teens, the oldest of eight children, when the Nazis rounded up the Jews in her Polish town, Oleszyce, set their synagogues alight, and forced them into a ghetto. Globe Columnist, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Dec. 2022 Another skirt was set alight by cigarette ember, whilst smoking in the toilet. Ncbi Rofl, Discover Magazine, 15 May 2012 Shuri may be the one who stops Namor in Wakanda Forever’s final act, but Ramonda’s scenes opposite the new villain are alight with an unpredictable energy. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 16 Nov. 2022 Toward the end of July, the goldfinches alight on the tall stalks of purple and yellow meadow rue, setting off ripples of movement. Nancy Hass Ngoc Minh Ngo, New York Times, 23 Sep. 2022 In video verified by NBC News, the wail of sirens can be heard as huge flames licked up multiple stories of the building after it was set alight by the crash. Phil Mccausland, NBC News, 17 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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.

First Known Use

Verb

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

Adjective

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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alight. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

alight

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

alight

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

More from Merriam-Webster on alight

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