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[dey-lahyt] /ˈdeɪˌlaɪt/
the light of day:
At the end of the tunnel they could see daylight.
public knowledge or awareness; openness:
The newspaper article brought the scandal out into the daylight.
the period of day; daytime.
daybreak; dawn.
a clear space or gap, especially between two people or things that should be close together, as between the knees of a horseback rider and a saddle.
disagreement or mental distance between two people:
There's very little daylight between the two senators' stances on the issue.
daylights, Informal. mental soundness, consciousness, or wits: The noise scared the daylights out of us.
I'd like to beat/knock the daylights out of him!
Photography. of, relating to, or being film made for exposure by the natural light of day.
verb (used with object), daylighted or daylit, daylighting.
to suffuse (an interior space) with artificial light or with daylight filtered through translucent materials, as roofing panels.
see daylight, to progress to a point where completion of a difficult task seems possible or probable.
Origin of daylight
1175-1225; Middle English; see day, light1
Related forms
predaylight, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for daylight
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had gone out before daylight to catch them for her breakfast.

    Mary Ware in Texas Annie F. Johnston
  • At daylight the stag came back to do more work on his new house.

    Fairy Tales from Brazil Elsie Spicer Eells
  • "Sometime before daylight," muttered that gentleman, getting up.

    Command William McFee
  • Again they came at daylight, and sang a war-song, preparatory to an attack.

    Captain Cook W.H.G. Kingston
  • The daylight shone, not into his shop alone, but into his heart as well.

    The Grandissimes George Washington Cable
British Dictionary definitions for daylight


  1. light from the sun
  2. (as modifier): daylight film
the period when it is light; daytime
see daylight
  1. to understand something previously obscure
  2. to realize that the end of a difficult task is approaching
See also daylights
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 daylight

c.1300 (as two words from mid-12c., daies liht), from day + light (n.); its figurative sense of "clearly visible open space between two things" (1820) has been used in references to boats in a race, U.S. football running backs avoiding opposing tackles, a rider and a saddle, and the rim of a glass and the surface of the liquor. The (living) daylights that you beat out of someone were originally slang for "the eyes" (1752), extended figuratively to the vital senses.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for daylight



A clear and open space between two things, horses, players, boats, etc: Daylight began to open between the two leaders/ He went into the line, but couldn't find any daylight (1820+)


To work at a second job during the day: who is daylighting in an ad agency as a producer of commercials (1970s+)

Related Terms

put daylight between

[verb sense based on moonlight]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with daylight
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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