light up

Idioms & Phrases

light up

  1. Become or cause to become more animated or cheerful, as in Her laughter lit up the whole room, or His face lit up when he saw her. This expression transfers physical illumination to human moods. Also see lighten up. [Mid-1700s]

  2. Start smoking a cigar, cigarette, or pipe, as in The minute he got outside the church he lit up. [Colloquial; mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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