Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To come down and settle, as after flight: a sparrow alighting on a branch.
  • intransitive v. To get down, as from a vehicle; dismount: The queen alighted from the carriage.
  • intransitive v. To come by chance: alight on a happy solution.
  • adj. Burning; lighted: The discarded match was still alight.
  • adj. Illuminated: The sky was alight with millions of stars.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Lit, on fire, switched on.
  • adj. Lit; on fire, burning.
  • v. To make light or less heavy; lighten; alleviate.
  • v. To spring down, get down, or descend, as from on horseback or from a carriage; to dismount.
  • v. To descend and settle, lodge, rest, or stop.
  • v. To come or chance (upon).
  • v. To light; light up; illuminate.
  • v. To set light to; light.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Lighted; lighted up; in a flame.
  • intransitive v. To spring down, get down, or descend, as from on horseback or from a carriage; to dismount.
  • intransitive v. To descend and settle, lodge, rest, or stop
  • intransitive v. To come or chance (upon).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To light; light up; illuminate.
  • To set light to; light (a fire, lamp, etc.).
  • Provided with light; lighted up; illuminated.
  • To make light or less heavy; lighten; alleviate.
  • To get down or descend, as from horseback or from a carriage; dismount.
  • To settle or lodge after descending: as, a bird alights on a tree; snow alights on a roof.
  • To fall (upon); come (upon) accidentally, or without design; light: as, to alight on a particular passage in a book, or on a particular fact; to alight on a rare plant.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. to come to rest, settle
  • adj. lighted up by or as by fire or flame
  • v. come down

Etymologies

Middle English alighten, from Old English ālīhtan : ā-, intensive pref. + līhtan, to relieve of a burden (from līht, light; see light2).
Middle English, past participle of alighten, to set on fire, from Old English ālīhtan, to illuminate : ā-, intensive pref. + līhtan, to shine (from lēoht, a light; see light1).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English alighten, from Old English ālīhtan ("to lighten, relieve, alleviate, take off, take away, alight") and Old English ġelīhtan ("to lighten, mitigate, assuage"), equivalent to a- +‎ light (“not heavy”). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English alighten, from Old English ālīhtan ("to alight, dismount"), from prefix ā- (compare with Gothic us-, German er-, originally meaning "out") + līhtan ("to alight"), and Old English ġelīhtan ("to alight, approach, come, come down, dismount"), equivalent to a- +‎ light (“to dismount”). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English alighten, from Old English ālīhtan ("to light up, enlighten"), equivalent to a- +‎ light. Cognate with German erleuchten ("to light up, illuminate"). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English alight, from Old English *ālīhted, past participle of ālīhtan ("to alight"). See above. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • No-one but the coach-driver saw her alight from the carriage, though, when it was a bare two miles from town.

    One Year’s Worth of Woe « A Fly in Amber

  • Laurence Olivier and Dora Bryan glancing up at it as they alight from the Brighton Belle.

    Brighton Clock

  • As for Willie Rennie, well he's not going to set the Commons alight is he?

    What Does the LibDem By-Election Victory Mean?

  • We stopped at a meadow to share our lemonade and my sister and I noticed how tenderly Manuel helped his wife to alight from the car.

    Lucky thing

  • The death record of a man killed by the cars at Wells while "Attempting to board or alight from a moving train" is made more poignant by the notation that he was "by tools found in his pocket supposed a shoe laster."

    Archive 2005-05-01

  • Tracey turned to George, her expression alight with curiosity.

    Disordered Minds

  • The percussionists alight from the front seat to do their own unloading.

    Music in the streets

  • The second time I visited Canada was last year, and then I had not time to alight from the train from Vancouver to New York, once more by Niagara.

    The Supreme Appeal

  • The children who were streaking over the asphalt on roller skates saw a lady in a long fur coat, and short, high-heeled shoes, alight from a French car and pace slowly about the Square, holding her muff to her chin.

    Youth and the Bright Medusa

  • "The stocky little Canuck!" as everyone now called Billy Jackson, was almost the last to alight from the train.

    The Shagganappi

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.