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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) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for alighted
  • All that was a bit too much to convey to my actress friend, who soon alighted from the subway.
  • He alighted, and takes his sling for them out of the chariot.
  • The unsuspecting couple alighted from a limo, she in a glittering white gown and he in a crisp tuxedo.
  • My mouth must have gone slack: a snowflake alighted on my tongue.
  • Soon a flash of silver will tell you on which post the plover has alighted and folded his long wings.
  • The bird by that time had been joined by a second one which had alighted to feed on a tiny food morsel it had been carrying.
  • Appellant was identified as the individual who had been driving and had alighted from the truck.
  • While on wing, they emitted an oft repeated soft whistling note, but the moment they alighted they became silent.
  • They alighted upon the table, on the hands, and on the dress of those near.
British Dictionary definitions for alighted


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
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Word Origin and History for alighted



"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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