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[uh-lahyt] /əˈlaɪt/
verb (used without object), alighted or alit, alighting.
to dismount from a horse, descend from a vehicle, etc.
to settle or stay after descending:
The bird alighted on the tree.
to encounter or notice something accidentally.
Origin of alight1
before 1000; Middle English alighten, Old English ālīhtan, equivalent to ā- a-3 + līhtan to relieve (originally an animal mount) of weight, light2)


[uh-lahyt] /əˈlaɪt/
adverb, adjective
provided with light; lighted up.
on fire; burning.
before 1000; now taken as a-1 + light1; orig. past participle of alight to light up (Middle English alihten, Old English onlīhtan, equivalent to on a-1 + līhtan to light1) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for alight
  • The birds couldn't alight on the mats and his head simultaneously.
  • Inside a near-vacuum bulb, it stayed alight for more than half a day.
  • The kitchen stove was alight at all burners and pots of water boiled atop them.
  • Nothing in his official business looks likely to set the sky alight.
  • For all the seriousness of his concerns, his play is alight with comic touches.
  • It is an idyllic and isolated spot where migratory birds often alight for a stopover.
  • What matters are the ideas, not the brains in which they alight.
  • The members of the family take it in turn to watch and keep the fire alight.
  • To eat, diners descend an industrial metal staircase and alight in a small brick room with beamed and vaulted ceilings.
  • The devils then piled the houses and horses together and set them alight.
British Dictionary definitions for alight


verb (intransitive) alights, alighting, alighted, alit
(usually foll by from) to step out (of) or get down (from): to alight from a taxi
to come to rest; settle; land: a thrush alighted on the wall
Word Origin
Old English ālīhtan, from a-² + līhtan to make less heavy, from līhtlight²


adjective, adverb (postpositive)
burning; on fire
illuminated; lit up
Word Origin
Old English ālīht lit up, from ālīhtan to light up; see light1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for alight

"to descend, dismount," Old English alihtan, originally "to lighten, take off, take away," from a- "down, aside" (see a- (1)) + lihtan "get off, make light" (see light (v.)). The notion is of getting down off a horse or vehicle, thus lightening it. Of aircraft (originally balloons) from 1786. Related: Alighted; alighting.


"on fire," early 15c., apparently from Middle English aliht, past participle of alihton (Old English on-lihtan) "to light up," also "to shine upon" (see light (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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