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.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The entire way, passengers sail along with views of the New York Capital Region, Massachusetts and the southern Vermont mountains, alighting next to the cable’s concrete anchors. Theresa Braine, New York Daily News, 14 Mar. 2024 The club had, in the past couple of months, alighted on (at least) five candidates to fill the role next season, only to find that none of Xabi Alonso, Julian Nagelsmann, Ralf Rangnick and Oliver Glasner wanted it. Rory Smith, New York Times, 24 May 2024
Adjective
The strongest geomagnetic storm in nearly 20 years began slamming into Earth on Friday, and as nightfall approaches in Idaho, there’s a good chance the Gem State’s sky could be alight with aurora borealis — the northern lights. Shaun Goodwin, Idaho Statesman, 10 May 2024 In the hours since the Grammys wrapped up, the fanbase has been alight with memes pointing out the link between the two. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 5 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for alight 

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

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 24 Jun. 2024.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!