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alight1

[uh-lahyt] /əˈlaɪt/
verb (used without object), alighted or alit, alighting.
1.
to dismount from a horse, descend from a vehicle, etc.
2.
to settle or stay after descending:
The bird alighted on the tree.
3.
to encounter or notice something accidentally.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English alighten, Old English ālīhtan, equivalent to ā- a-3 + līhtan to relieve (originally an animal mount) of weight, light2)

alight2

[uh-lahyt] /əˈlaɪt/
adverb, adjective
1.
provided with light; lighted up.
2.
on fire; burning.
Origin
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)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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

alight1

/əˈlaɪt/
verb (intransitive) alights, alighting, alighted, alit
1.
(usually foll by from) to step out (of) or get down (from): to alight from a taxi
2.
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

alight2

/əˈlaɪt/
adjective, adverb (postpositive)
1.
burning; on fire
2.
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
v.

"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.

adj.

"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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