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something that makes things visible or affords illumination:
All colors depend on light.

Also called luminous energy, radiant energy. electromagnetic radiation to which the organs of sight react, ranging in wavelength from about 400 to 700 nm and propagated at a speed of 186,282 mi./sec (299,972 km/sec), considered variously as a wave, corpuscular, or quantum phenomenon.
a similar form of radiant energy that does not affect the retina, as ultraviolet or infrared rays.

the sensation produced by stimulation of the organs of sight.
an illuminating agent or source, as the sun, a lamp, or a beacon.
the radiance or illumination from a particular source:
the light of a candle.
the illumination from the sun; daylight:
We awoke at the first light.
daybreak or dawn:
when light appeared in the east.
Summer has more hours of light.
a particular light or illumination in which an object seen takes on a certain appearance:
viewing the portrait in dim light.
a device for or means of igniting, as a spark, flame, or match:
Could you give me a light?
a traffic light:
Don’t cross till the light changes.
the aspect in which a thing appears or is regarded:
Try to look at the situation in a more cheerful light.
the state of being visible, exposed to view, or revealed to public notice or knowledge; limelight:
Stardom has placed her in the light.
a person who is an outstanding leader, celebrity, or example; luminary:
He became one of the leading lights of Restoration drama.

the effect of light falling on an object or scene as represented in a picture.
one of the brightest parts of a picture.

a gleam or sparkle, as in the eyes.
a measure or supply of light; illumination:
The wall cuts off our light.
spiritual illumination or awareness; enlightenment.

Also called day. one compartment of a window or window sash.
a window, especially a small one.

mental insight; understanding.
lights, the information, ideas, or mental capacities possessed:
to act according to one’s lights.
a lighthouse.
Archaic. the eyesight.
having light or illumination; bright; well-lighted:
the lightest room in the entire house.
pale, whitish, or not deep or dark in color:
a light blue.
(of coffee or tea) containing enough milk or cream to produce a light color.
to set burning, as a candle, lamp, fire, match, or cigarette; kindle; ignite.
to turn or switch on (an electric light):
One flick of the master switch lights all the lamps in the room.
to give light to; furnish with light or illumination:
The room is lighted by two large chandeliers.
to make (an area or object) bright with or as if with light (often followed by up):
Hundreds of candles lighted up the ballroom.
to cause (the face, surroundings, etc.) to brighten, especially with joy, animation, or the like (often followed by up):
A smile lit up her face. Her presence lighted up the room.
to guide or conduct with a light:
a candle to light you to bed.
to take fire or become kindled:
The damp wood refused to light.
to ignite a cigar, cigarette, or pipe for purposes of smoking (usually followed by up):
He took out a pipe and lighted up before speaking.
to become illuminated when switched on:
This table lamp won’t light.
to become bright, as with light or color (often followed by up):
The sky lights up at sunset.
to brighten with animation or joy, as the face or eyes (often followed by up).
bring to light, to discover or reveal:
The excavations brought to light the remnants of an ancient civilization.
come to light, to be discovered or revealed:
Some previously undiscovered letters have lately come to light.
hide one’s light under a bushel, to conceal or suppress one’s talents or successes.
in a good / bad light, under favorable (or unfavorable) circumstances:
She worshiped him, but then she’d only seen him in a good light.
in (the) light of, taking into account; because of; considering:
It was necessary to review the decision in the light of recent developments.
light at the end of the tunnel, a prospect of success, relief, or redemption:
We haven’t solved the problem yet, but we’re beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.
see the light,

to come into existence or being.
to be made public.
to begin to accept or understand a point of view one formerly opposed:
Her father was opposed to her attending an out-of-town college, but he finally saw the light.

shed / throw light on, to clarify; clear up:
His deathbed confession threw light on a mystery of long standing.
of little weight; not heavy:
a light load.
of little weight in proportion to bulk; of low specific gravity:
a light metal.
of less than the usual or average weight:
light clothing.
weighing less than the proper or standard amount:
to be caught using light weights in trade.
of small amount, force, intensity, etc.:
light trading on the stock market; a light rain; light sleep.
using or applying little or slight pressure or force:
The child petted the puppy with light, gentle strokes.
not distinct; faint:
The writing on the page had become light and hard to read.
easy to endure, deal with, or perform; not difficult or burdensome:
light duties.
not very profound or serious; amusing or entertaining:
light reading.
of little importance or consequence; trivial:
The loss of his job was no light matter.
easily digested:
light food.
low in any substance, as sugar, starch, or tars, that is considered harmful or undesirable:
light cigarettes.

not heavy or strong:
a light apéritif.
(especially of beer and wine) having fewer calories and usually a lower alcohol content than the standard product.

spongy or well-leavened, as cake.
(of soil) containing much sand; porous or crumbly.
slender or delicate in form or appearance:
a light, graceful figure.
airy or buoyant in movement:
When she dances, she’s as light as a feather.
nimble or agile:
light on one’s feet.
free from trouble, sorrow, or worry; carefree:
a light heart.
cheerful; gay:
a light laugh.
characterized by lack of proper seriousness; frivolous:
light conduct.
sexually promiscuous; loose.
easily swayed; changeable; volatile:
a heart light of love; His is a life of a man light of purpose.
dizzy; slightly delirious:
I get light on one martini.
Military. lightly armed or equipped:
light cavalry.
having little or no cargo, encumbrance, or the like; not burdened:
a light freighter drawing little water.
adapted by small weight or slight build for small loads or swift movement:
The grocer bought a light truck for deliveries.
using small-scale machinery primarily for the production of consumer goods:
light industry.
Nautical. noting any sail of light canvas set only in moderate or calm weather, as a royal, skysail, studdingsail, gaff topsail, or spinnaker.
Meteorology. (of wind) having a speed up to 7 miles per hour (3 m/sec).
Compare light air, light breeze.
Phonetics. (of l- sounds) resembling a front vowel in quality; clear:
French l is lighter than English l.

unstressed (def 1).
short (def 17a).

Poker. being in debt to the pot:
He’s a dollar light.
to travel light.
with no load or cargo hauled or carried:
a locomotive running light to its roundhouse.
a light product, as a beer or cigarette.
make light of, to treat as unimportant or trivial:
They made light of our hard-won victory.
to get down or descend, as from a horse or a vehicle.
to come to rest, as on a spot or thing; fall or settle upon; land:
The bird lighted on the branch. My eye lighted on some friends in the crowd.
to come by chance; happen; hit (usually followed by on or upon):
to light on a clue; to light on an ideal picnic spot.
to fall, as a stroke, weapon, vengeance, or choice, on a place or person:
The choice lighted upon our candidate.
light into, Informal. to make a vigorous physical or verbal attack on:
He would light into anyone with the slightest provocation.
light out, Slang. to leave quickly; depart hurriedly:
He lit out of here as fast as his legs would carry him.
the lungs, especially of sheep, pigs, etc.
Contemporary Examples

The Week’s Best Longreads for September 28, 2013 David Sessions September 27, 2013
Raped by a Teacher: One Woman’s Tragic Past at the Horace Mann School Abigail Pesta September 18, 2012
Literary City: Taiye Selasi’s Rome Henry Krempels December 12, 2013
Your Husband Is Definitely Gay: TLC’s Painful Portrait of Mormonism Samantha Allen December 31, 2014
The Light Bulb Is Dead. Long Live the Light Bulb! Ethan Biery December 19, 2013

Historical Examples

The Scapegoat Hall Caine
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
The Shadow of a Crime Hall Caine
Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
Sielanka: An Idyll Henryk Sienkiewicz

the medium of illumination that makes sight possible
Also called visible radiation. electromagnetic radiation that is capable of causing a visual sensation and has wavelengths from about 380 to about 780 nanometres
(not in technical usage) electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength outside this range, esp ultraviolet radiation: ultraviolet light
the sensation experienced when electromagnetic radiation within the visible spectrum falls on the retina of the eye related prefix photo-
anything that illuminates, such as a lamp or candle
See traffic light
a particular quality or type of light: a good light for reading

illumination from the sun during the day; daylight
the time this appears; daybreak; dawn

anything that allows the entrance of light, such as a window or compartment of a window
the condition of being visible or known (esp in the phrases bring or come to light)
an aspect or view: he saw it in a different light
mental understanding or spiritual insight
a person considered to be an authority or leader
brightness of countenance, esp a sparkle in the eyes

the act of igniting or kindling something, such as a cigarette
something that ignites or kindles, esp in a specified manner, such as a spark or flame
something used for igniting or kindling, such as a match

See lighthouse

the effect of illumination on objects or scenes, as created in a picture
an area of brightness in a picture, as opposed to shade

a poetic or archaic word for eyesight
the answer to a clue in a crossword
in light of, in the light of, in view of; taking into account; considering
light at the end of the tunnel, hope for the ending of a difficult or unpleasant situation
out like a light, quickly asleep or unconscious
see the light

to gain sudden insight into or understanding of something
to experience a religious conversion

see the light, see the light of day

to come into being
to come to public notice

shed light on, throw light on, to clarify or supply additional information on
stand in a person’s light, to stand so as to obscure a person’s vision
strike a light

(verb) to ignite something, esp a match, by friction
(interjection) (Brit) an exclamation of surprise

full of light; well-lighted
(of a colour) reflecting or transmitting a large amount of light: light yellow Compare medium (sense 2), dark (sense 2)
(phonetics) relating to or denoting an (l) pronounced with front vowel resonance; clear: the French “l” is much lighter than that of English See dark (sense 9)
verb lights, lighting, lighted, lit (lɪt)
to ignite or cause to ignite
(often foll by up) to illuminate or cause to illuminate
to make or become cheerful or animated
(transitive) to guide or lead by light
not heavy; weighing relatively little
having relatively low density: magnesium is a light metal
lacking sufficient weight; not agreeing with standard or official weights
not great in degree, intensity, or number: light rain, a light eater
without burdens, difficulties, or problems; easily borne or done: a light heart, light work
graceful, agile, or deft: light fingers
not bulky or clumsy
not serious or profound; entertaining: light verse
without importance or consequence; insignificant: no light matter
frivolous or capricious
loose in morals
dizzy or unclear: a light head
(of bread, cake, etc) spongy or well leavened
easily digested: a light meal
relatively low in alcoholic content: a light wine
(of a soil) having a crumbly texture
(of a vessel, lorry, etc)

designed to carry light loads
not loaded

carrying light arms or equipment: light infantry
(of an industry) engaged in the production of small consumer goods using light machinery Compare heavy (sense 10)
(aeronautics) (of an aircraft) having a maximum take-off weight less than 5670 kilograms (12 500 pounds)
(chem) (of an oil fraction obtained from coal tar) having a boiling range between about 100° and 210°C
(of a railway) having a narrow gauge, or in some cases a standard gauge with speed or load restrictions not applied to a main line

(of a bid) made on insufficient values
(of a player) having failed to take sufficient tricks to make his contract

(phonetics, prosody) (of a syllable, vowel, etc) unaccented or weakly stressed; short Compare heavy (sense 13) See also light1 (sense 30)
(phonetics) the least of three levels of stress in an utterance, in such languages as English
(informal) light on, lacking a sufficient quantity of (something)
make light of, to treat as insignificant or trifling
a less common word for lightly
with little equipment, baggage, etc: to travel light
verb (intransitive) lights, lighting, lighted, lit (lɪt)
(esp of birds) to settle or land after flight
to get down from a horse, vehicle, etc
foll by on or upon. to come upon unexpectedly
to strike or fall on: the choice lighted on me
God regarded as a source of illuminating grace and strength
(Quakerism) short for Inner Light
plural noun
a person’s ideas, knowledge, or understanding: he did it according to his lights
plural noun
the lungs, esp of sheep, bullocks, and pigs, used for feeding pets and occasionally in human food

Ðu eart dohtor min, minra eagna leoht [Juliana].

To see the light “come into the world” is from 1680s; later in a Christian sense.


LIfecycle Global HyperText.
A project in the CERN ECP/TP group whereby documents resulting from the software life cycle are available as hypertext.

light a fire under
light as a feather
light at the end of the tunnel
light dawned, the
light heart
light into
light on
light out
light up


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