verb (used without object), a·light·ed or a·lit, a·light·ing.

  1. to dismount from a horse, descend from a vehicle, etc.
  2. to settle or stay after descending: The bird alighted on the tree.
  3. to encounter or notice something accidentally.

adverb, adjective

  1. provided with light; lighted up.
  2. on fire; burning.

verb alights, alighting, alighted or alit (intr)

  1. (usually foll by from) to step out (of) or get down (from)to alight from a taxi
  2. to come to rest; settle; landa thrush alighted on the wall

adjective, adverb (postpositive)

  1. burning; on fire
  2. illuminated; lit up

“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.)).

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