Definition of “light” - English Dictionary

“light” in British English

See all translations

lightnoun

uk /laɪt/ us /laɪt/

light noun (BRIGHTNESS)

B1 [ U ] the brightness that comes from the sun, fire, etc. and from electrical devices, and that allows things to be seen:

a bright light
a beam/ray of light
Light was streaming in through the open door.
It's a north-facing room so it doesn't get much light (= brightness from the sun).

A2 [ C ] a piece of equipment that produces light, such as a lamp or a bulb:

Could you switch/turn the light on/off, please?
She could see the city lights in the distance.
As the lights went down, the audience grew quiet.
My front bike light isn't working.

More examples

light noun (FLAME)

a light

More examples

  • He asked me for a light.
  • She gave me a light.
  • I didn't have a light.
  • Can you give me a light?
  • I needed a light.

something that will produce a flame and cause burning, such as a match or a cigarette lighter:

Have you got a light, please?
set light to sth UK

to cause something to start burning:

The lamp caught fire and set light to the curtains.

lightadjective

uk /laɪt/ us /laɪt/

light adjective (NOT HEAVY)

A2 not weighing a lot:

Here, take this bag - it's quite light.
He's a few pounds lighter than he used to be.
How do you get your cakes so wonderfully light, Amy?
He has a very light (= gentle) touch, which is what is required in massage.
She's very light on her feet (= she moves gracefully).

A2 Light clothes are made of thin material that allows you to be cool:

a light summer dress

More examples

light adjective (BRIGHT)

B1 lit by the natural light of the day:

The big windows make the room feel wonderfully light and airy.
It gets light very early these summer mornings.
Summer is coming and the evenings are getting lighter (= getting dark later).

More examples

light adjective (NOT SERIOUS)

entertaining and easily understood, but not serious and not intended to make you think:

I want some light reading for the summer holidays - a romance or something.
A lively argument between the two main speakers provided some light relief (= something enjoyable or amusing) in an otherwise dull conference.
make light of sth

C2 to behave as if a situation, especially a problem, is not serious or important:

It is easy to make light of other people's problems.

More examples

light adjective (NOT MUCH)

B1 not great in strength or amount:

A light wind was blowing.
The traffic was quite light so we got through London quickly.
It's only light rain - you don't need an umbrella.
light eater/drinker/smoker

someone who eats/drinks/smokes only a little

light sleeper

someone who is easily woken up by noise, etc.

More examples

lightverb

uk /laɪt/ us /laɪt/ lit or lighted, lit or lighted

(Definition of “light” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“light” in American English

See all translations

lightnoun

us /lɑɪt/

light noun (ENERGY)

[ C/U ] the energy from the sun or fire and from electrical devices that allows you to see clearly:

[ U ] Light was streaming through the windows.
[ U ] The light was so bright that it hurt my eyes.

[ C/U ] A light is also anything that provides light, esp. an electric lamp:

[ C ] Don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave.

[ C/U ] A light is also a traffic light:

Let’s go – you’ve got a green light.

light noun (FLAME)

[ U ] a device used to produce a flame, such as a match:

Excuse me, have you got a light?

lightadjective

us /lɑɪt/

light adjective (NOT HEAVY)

[ -er/-est only ] having little weight; not heavy:

This suitcase is pretty light.
Ty’s a few pounds lighter than he used to be.

[ -er/-est only ] Clothes that are light are made of thin material which allows you to be cool:

a light summer dress

[ -er/-est only ] A light meal is a small one:

a light snack

light adjective (NOT FAT)

also lite (of food) having less fat or fewer calories than usual:

light adjective (NOT SERIOUS)

[ -er/-est only ] intended to entertain; not serious:

Take along some light reading for the trip.

light adjective (NOT A LOT)

[ -er/-est only ] not great in strength or amount; slight:

a light rain
light traffic
The doctor said it was OK to take light exercise, such as walking.

[ -er/-est only ] A light sentence in prison is a short one.

[ -er/-est only ] Tastes and smells described as light are not obvious:

a light scent of wildflowers
light eater/drinker

A light eater/drinker eats or drinks only a little.

light adjective (ENERGY)

[ -er/-est only ] providing energy from the sun that allows you to see clearly:

It was still light out at eight in the evening.

lightadjective, adverb [ -er/-est only ]

us /lɑɪt/

light adjective, adverb [ -er/-est only ] (PALE)

(of colors) pale:

a light-colored car
The walls were light green.

lightverb

us /lɑɪt/ past tense and past participle lit /lɪt/ lighted

light verb (ENERGY)

[ T ] to provide with energy from the sun, fire, or electrical devices that allow you to see clearly:

The house was lit with candles for the dinner party.

light verb (FLAME)

[ I/T ] to produce a flame:

[ I ] I can’t get the barbecue to light.
[ T ] I tried to light the fire, but the wood was wet.

(Definition of “light” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“light” in Business English

See all translations

lightadjective

uk /laɪt/ us

not great in size, strength, or amount:

Air traffic was very light at Heathrow so we were not delayed.
We had a light meal before we began negotiations.

TRANSPORT used for describing forms of transport that are smaller or that use less power than the usual kind:

Fleets of light trucks deliver furniture to households throughout the region.
Light aircraft allow busy executives to fly anywhere at a moment's notice.
A contest for light rail development drew interest from urban planners.

needing only a very small amount of work or effort:

light chores/cleaning/work
light on sth

not having a lot of something:

light on details/facts/information His presentation was light on details as to how he would spend the money.
make light work of (doing) sth

to do something quickly or easily:

Workers from the second shift stayed late so we were able to make light work of unloading the deliveries.

lightnoun

uk /laɪt/ us

a way of thinking about or understanding something:

a bad/good/new light After they won all those awards, we saw them in a new light and decided they were serious competitors.
a negative/positive light We want to show our country in a positive light.
cast/shed light on sth

to show something about a situation that was previously unknown:

This sheds new light on why e-business investment does not always lead to improved firm performance.
give sth a/the green light

to give someone permission to do something:

Contractors were given a green light to install the infrastructure for the industrial park.
in the light of

UK US in light of because of something or as a result of something:

In light of problems we're having, we have no choice but to close the business.

(Definition of “light” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)