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Light | Multiple meanings

 

It’s this time of year again: Windows, streets and shops are lit with Christmas lights; we light candles and fires; and travelling light can get difficult as we bring and receive presents.


The noun

As a noun, light can be uncountable (which means it has no plural) or countable

 

  • As an uncountable noun, light describes the brightness that comes from a
    source like the sun, a fire or a lamp.
    There’s sunlight, moonlight, daylight
  • The countable noun denominates a piece of equipment that produces light, such as a lamp, or a bulb.
    There are traffic lights, headlights, fairy lights, and in this season, Christmas lights

Related words

The adjective / adverb

Light as an adjective is the opposite of several other adjectives: dark, heavy, thick, serious, deep

  • Something, e.g. a present, a suitcase or a person, can be light / lightweight or heavy.
  • If you can hear some light footsteps outside, it might be an elf; if you hear heavy footsteps, it may be Father Christmas (aka Santa Claus) himself!
  • Wearing a light sweater may be enough to keep you warm indoors, but you may want to wear a thick jumper outdoors.

  • In the northern hemisphere, it gets light much later at Christmas time than in the summer, and it gets dark much earlier in the afternoon.
  • Ideally, we should have a light meal for dinner as opposed to Christmas, when we often have too much and too heavy food.
  • In order to shed those extra kilos, how about some light exercise, before going on to moderate or more vigorous exercise?
  • For the holidays, I prefer some light reading, nothing too serious.
  • Sleep can be light as opposed to heavy or deep.
  • Hopefully over Christmas you only do some light work; leave the heavy work for later.

Some idioms and expressions

  • Streets and shops are beautifully lit at Christmastime.

    To be lit also has a slang meaning, though:
    It can mean intoxicated (under the influence of alcohol), but also exciting or excellent.

He was getting lit.
That party was lit!

  • A place can be alight with candles.
  • When someone makes light of something they behave as if it’s not a problem, not serious or important.
  • We travel light when we just take a trolley or a carry-on bag.
  • When someone gets off lightly, they are not punished very severely.
  • Something that is enlightening gives us more information or understanding of something.
  • The present was big, but as light as a feather.
  • When we feel light-headed, we feel dizzy from standing up too fast, so be careful these days.
  • I really hope your Christmas holidays are light-hearted: free from anxiety or seriousness.


Hopefully this post has shed some light on the word light for you! Let me know if you need help finding the three light-related words in the song.

 

 

The verb

  • As a verb, light means to make something start to burn; to illuminate.
  • It is irregular: light – lit – lit, but there’s also a regular version: light – lighted – lighted.

    We can light a fire, a match, a cigarette…
    The shiny nose of Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer lights the way for Santa’s sleigh.
    (Here’s a link to the song – with lyrics – that tells the story. See if you can find two adjectives and a verb that are related to the topic of this post. Enjoy!)

A phrasal verb, and another related verb

  • Phrasal verb: light up

    • When something lights up or is lit up, it becomes bright with light or colour.
    On New Year’s Eve, thousands of fireworks light up the sky.
    • When we feel animated or joyful, our eyes or faces light up.
    The children’s faces lit up when they saw the presents.

    • To light up is a colloquial term for lighting a cigarette, cigar or pipe.
    She reached for her packet of cigarettes and lit up.

     

  • What’s the difference between to light and to light up?
    Both verbs are often synonymous. The particle up can add more emphasis.
    Thousands of fireworks lit the sky. Thousands of fireworks lit up the sky.

    Please note, however, that we cannot say their faces lit, or she took a cigarette and lit (see the entry above).

  • The verb to enlighten means to provide information and understanding, or to explain the true facts about something.
    I’m not sure I understand. Please enlighten me.

The adjective / adverb

Light as an adjective is the opposite of several other adjectives: dark, heavy, thick, serious, deep

  • Something, e.g. a present, a suitcase or a person, can be light / lightweight or heavy.
  • If you can hear some light footsteps outside, it might be an elf; if you hear heavy footsteps, it may be Father Christmas (aka Santa Claus) himself!
  • Wearing a light sweater may be enough to keep you warm indoors, but you may want to wear a thick jumper outdoors.

  • In the northern hemisphere, it gets light much later at Christmas time than in the summer, and it gets dark much earlier in the afternoon.
  • Ideally, we should have a light meal for dinner as opposed to Christmas, when we often have too much and too heavy food.
  • In order to shed those extra kilos, how about some light exercise, before going on to moderate or more vigorous exercise?
  • For the holidays, I prefer some light reading, nothing too serious.
  • Sleep can be light as opposed to heavy or deep.
  • Hopefully over Christmas you only do some light work; leave the heavy work for later.

Some idioms and expressions

  • Streets and shops are beautifully lit at Christmastime.

    To be lit also has a slang meaning, though:
    It can mean intoxicated (under the influence of alcohol), but also exciting or excellent.

He was getting lit.
That party was lit!

  • A place can be alight with candles.
  • When someone makes light of something they behave as if it’s not a problem, not serious or important.
  • We travel light when we just take a trolley or a carry-on bag.
  • When someone gets off lightly, they are not punished very severely.
  • Something that is enlightening gives us more information or understanding of something.
  • The present was big, but as light as a feather.
  • When we feel light-headed, we feel dizzy from standing up too fast, so be careful these days.
  • I really hope your Christmas holidays are light-hearted: free from anxiety or seriousness.


Hopefully this post has shed some light on the word light for you! Let me know if you need help finding the three light-related words in the song.

 

 

  • Light can be visible as a beam or a ray of light. It can shine, burn, blink, flicker…Light can be bright, soft, blinding, faint, pale… It can be fluorescent, ultraviolet…Lights come on when they are switched on. They go out when they are extinguished, or when the power fails.

A few more nouns

  • The word enlightenment describes the state of understanding something.
    During the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century, important ideas were
  • based on reason and science rather than on dogma and beliefs.
  • We can produce a flame with a lighter
  • During a storm, you can see lightning flash across the sky.

Some idioms and expressions

  • When we bring to light something hidden, it becomes known: it comes to light.
    She brought the real facts to light in an interview.
    The real facts came to light in the interview.
  • We can cast / shed / throw light on something that was unclear to make it clear.
    The study has cast light on how our ancestors used to live.
  • When someone falls asleep immediately, or loses consciousness, they go out like a light.
    She got under the blanket and went out like a light.
  • After we have been through the worst of a situation, we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    I’ve been working on a translation all year; now I can finally see the end of the tunnel.
  • When we receive permission for a project, we get the green light
    We need to get the green light from Human Resources before we can start hiring.
  • “The lights are on, but nobody’s home”
    A humorous comment on someone that isn’t very intelligent of lacks awareness. 🙂

The verb

  • As a verb, light means to make something start to burn; to illuminate.
  • It is irregular: light – lit – lit, but there’s also a regular version: light – lighted – lighted.

    We can light a fire, a match, a cigarette…
    The shiny nose of Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer lights the way for Santa’s sleigh.
    (Here’s a link to the song – with lyrics – that tells the story. See if you can find two adjectives and a verb that are related to the topic of this post. Enjoy!)

A phrasal verb, and another related verb

  • Phrasal verb: light up

    • When something lights up or is lit up, it becomes bright with light or colour.
    On New Year’s Eve, thousands of fireworks light up the sky.
    • When we feel animated or joyful, our eyes or faces light up.
    The children’s faces lit up when they saw the presents.

    • To light up is a colloquial term for lighting a cigarette, cigar or pipe.
    She reached for her packet of cigarettes and lit up.

     

  • What’s the difference between to light and to light up?
    Both verbs are often synonymous. The particle up can add more emphasis.
    Thousands of fireworks lit the sky. Thousands of fireworks lit up the sky.

    Please note, however, that we cannot say their faces lit, or she took a cigarette and lit (see the entry above).

  • The verb to enlighten means to provide information and understanding, or to explain the true facts about something.
    I’m not sure I understand. Please enlighten me.

The adjective / adverb

Light as an adjective is the opposite of several other adjectives: dark, heavy, thick, serious, deep

  • Something, e.g. a present, a suitcase or a person, can be light / lightweight or heavy.
  • If you can hear some light footsteps outside, it might be an elf; if you hear heavy footsteps, it may be Father Christmas (aka Santa Claus) himself!
  • Wearing a light sweater may be enough to keep you warm indoors, but you may want to wear a thick jumper outdoors.

  • In the northern hemisphere, it gets light much later at Christmas time than in the summer, and it gets dark much earlier in the afternoon.
  • Ideally, we should have a light meal for dinner as opposed to Christmas, when we often have too much and too heavy food.
  • In order to shed those extra kilos, how about some light exercise, before going on to moderate or more vigorous exercise?
  • For the holidays, I prefer some light reading, nothing too serious.
  • Sleep can be light as opposed to heavy or deep.
  • Hopefully over Christmas you only do some light work; leave the heavy work for later.

Some idioms and expressions

  • Streets and shops are beautifully lit at Christmastime.

    To be lit also has a slang meaning, though:
    It can mean intoxicated (under the influence of alcohol), but also exciting or excellent.

He was getting lit.
That party was lit!

  • A place can be alight with candles.
  • When someone makes light of something they behave as if it’s not a problem, not serious or important.
  • We travel light when we just take a trolley or a carry-on bag.
  • When someone gets off lightly, they are not punished very severely.
  • Something that is enlightening gives us more information or understanding of something.
  • The present was big, but as light as a feather.
  • When we feel light-headed, we feel dizzy from standing up too fast, so be careful these days.
  • I really hope your Christmas holidays are light-hearted: free from anxiety or seriousness.


Hopefully this post has shed some light on the word light for you! Let me know if you need help finding the three light-related words in the song.

 

 

  • Light can be visible as a beam or a ray of light. It can shine, burn, blink, flicker…Light can be bright, soft, blinding, faint, pale… It can be fluorescent, ultraviolet…Lights come on when they are switched on. They go out when they are extinguished, or when the power fails.

A few more nouns

  • The word enlightenment describes the state of understanding something.
    During the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century, important ideas were
  • based on reason and science rather than on dogma and beliefs.
  • We can produce a flame with a lighter
  • During a storm, you can see lightning flash across the sky.

Some idioms and expressions

  • When we bring to light something hidden, it becomes known: it comes to light.
    She brought the real facts to light in an interview.
    The real facts came to light in the interview.
  • We can cast / shed / throw light on something that was unclear to make it clear.
    The study has cast light on how our ancestors used to live.
  • When someone falls asleep immediately, or loses consciousness, they go out like a light.
    She got under the blanket and went out like a light.
  • After we have been through the worst of a situation, we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    I’ve been working on a translation all year; now I can finally see the end of the tunnel.
  • When we receive permission for a project, we get the green light
    We need to get the green light from Human Resources before we can start hiring.
  • “The lights are on, but nobody’s home”
    A humorous comment on someone that isn’t very intelligent of lacks awareness. 🙂

The verb

  • As a verb, light means to make something start to burn; to illuminate.
  • It is irregular: light – lit – lit, but there’s also a regular version: light – lighted – lighted.

    We can light a fire, a match, a cigarette…
    The shiny nose of Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer lights the way for Santa’s sleigh.
    (Here’s a link to the song – with lyrics – that tells the story. See if you can find two adjectives and a verb that are related to the topic of this post. Enjoy!)

A phrasal verb, and another related verb

  • Phrasal verb: light up

    • When something lights up or is lit up, it becomes bright with light or colour.
    On New Year’s Eve, thousands of fireworks light up the sky.
    • When we feel animated or joyful, our eyes or faces light up.
    The children’s faces lit up when they saw the presents.

    • To light up is a colloquial term for lighting a cigarette, cigar or pipe.
    She reached for her packet of cigarettes and lit up.

     

  • What’s the difference between to light and to light up?
    Both verbs are often synonymous. The particle up can add more emphasis.
    Thousands of fireworks lit the sky. Thousands of fireworks lit up the sky.

    Please note, however, that we cannot say their faces lit, or she took a cigarette and lit (see the entry above).

  • The verb to enlighten means to provide information and understanding, or to explain the true facts about something.
    I’m not sure I understand. Please enlighten me.

The adjective / adverb

Light as an adjective is the opposite of several other adjectives: dark, heavy, thick, serious, deep

  • Something, e.g. a present, a suitcase or a person, can be light / lightweight or heavy.
  • If you can hear some light footsteps outside, it might be an elf; if you hear heavy footsteps, it may be Father Christmas (aka Santa Claus) himself!
  • Wearing a light sweater may be enough to keep you warm indoors, but you may want to wear a thick jumper outdoors.

  • In the northern hemisphere, it gets light much later at Christmas time than in the summer, and it gets dark much earlier in the afternoon.
  • Ideally, we should have a light meal for dinner as opposed to Christmas, when we often have too much and too heavy food.
  • In order to shed those extra kilos, how about some light exercise, before going on to moderate or more vigorous exercise?
  • For the holidays, I prefer some light reading, nothing too serious.
  • Sleep can be light as opposed to heavy or deep.
  • Hopefully over Christmas you only do some light work; leave the heavy work for later.

Some idioms and expressions

  • Streets and shops are beautifully lit at Christmastime.

    To be lit also has a slang meaning, though:
    It can mean intoxicated (under the influence of alcohol), but also exciting or excellent.

He was getting lit.
That party was lit!

  • A place can be alight with candles.
  • When someone makes light of something they behave as if it’s not a problem, not serious or important.
  • We travel light when we just take a trolley or a carry-on bag.
  • When someone gets off lightly, they are not punished very severely.
  • Something that is enlightening gives us more information or understanding of something.
  • The present was big, but as light as a feather.
  • When we feel light-headed, we feel dizzy from standing up too fast, so be careful these days.
  • I really hope your Christmas holidays are light-hearted: free from anxiety or seriousness.


Hopefully this post has shed some light on the word light for you! Let me know if you need help finding the three light-related words in the song.

 

 

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