light·​ly ˈlīt-lē How to pronounce lightly (audio)
: in a light manner: such as
: with little weight or force : gently
: with indifference or carelessness : unconcernedly
the problem should not be passed over lightlyShelly Halpern
: with little difficulty : easily
: in an agile manner : nimbly, swiftly
the cat leapt lightly onto the table
: in a small degree or amount
lightly salted food

Example Sentences

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 Lopez is not taking this schedule change lightly, either. Laia Garcia-furtado, Vogue, 6 Feb. 2023 But its stability is not to be fooled with, not to be taken lightly. Larry Griffin, Car and Driver, 3 Feb. 2023 Brown, the executive director of the school administrators group, said such decisions aren’t taken lightly because school leaders must think about how to successfully roll it out and support children from families where both parents work. Dallas News, 30 Jan. 2023 Suffice it to say layoffs should not be taken lightly. Fortune, 23 Jan. 2023 During the interview, Dimon also warned that the upcoming fight over the debt ceiling isn't something that should be taken lightly. Joe Silverstein, Fox News, 23 Jan. 2023 Yet a team that has been guilty of taking opponents lightly or easing into games did neither Monday at TD Garden. Gary Washburn,, 10 Jan. 2023 Still, Pearl isn’t taking Georgia lightly, even as Auburn has won eight of the last 10 meetings in the series. Tom Green |, al, 4 Jan. 2023 West agrees that no one at The Crown is taking the subject of the princess' death lightly. Clark Collis,, 18 Oct. 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.

Word History

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near lightly

Cite this Entry

“Lightly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on lightly

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