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.

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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