Word of the Day: alight
origin: from Old English "a-" +"lihtan",
meaning "to relieve of a burden"
1. To come down and settle, as after a flight.
"Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always
beyond our grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly
may alight upon you."
2. To come down from, as from a vehicle; dismount; deplane.
"Then he alighted from his stallion and repairing to his
chamber, rubbed the lamp and behold, the slave stood before
him and said, 'Ask, O my lord, whatso thou wantest,'"
--Sir Richard Francis Burton, "Aladdin; Or, The Wonderful Lamp"
from "The Arabian Nights"
3. To come by chance.
"Perhaps that was a more cheerful time for observers and
theorizers than the present; we are apt to think it the finest
era of the world when America was beginning to be discovered,
when a bold sailor, even if he were wrecked, might alight on a
--George Eliot, "Middlemarch"
As an adjective, the word "alight", which has a different origin,
has the rather mundane meaning of "burning, lighted".
Publish Date: 01/20/2011