The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Light \Light\ (l[imac]t), n. [OE. light, liht, AS. le['i]ht;
akin to OS. lioht, D. & G. licht, OHG. lioht, Goth.
liuha[thorn], Icel. lj[=o]s, L. lux light, lucere to shine,
Gr. leyko`s white, Skr. ruc to shine. [root]122. Cf. Lucid,
Lunar, Luminous, Lynx.]
1. That agent, force, or action in nature by the operation of
which upon the organs of sight, objects are rendered
visible or luminous.
Note: Light was regarded formerly as consisting of material
particles, or corpuscules, sent off in all directions
from luminous bodies, and traversing space, in right
lines, with the known velocity of about 186,300 miles
per second; but it is now generally understood to
consist, not in any actual transmission of particles or
substance, but in the propagation of vibrations or
undulations in a subtile, elastic medium, or ether,
assumed to pervade all space, and to be thus set in
vibratory motion by the action of luminous bodies, as
the atmosphere is by sonorous bodies. This view of the
nature of light is known as the undulatory or wave
theory; the other, advocated by Newton (but long since
abandoned), as the corpuscular, emission, or Newtonian
theory. A more recent theory makes light to consist in
electrical oscillations, and is known as the
electro-magnetic theory of light.
2. That which furnishes, or is a source of, light, as the
sun, a star, a candle, a lighthouse, etc.
Then he called for a light, and sprang in. --Acts
And God made two great lights; the greater light to
rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the
night. --Gen. i. 16.
3. The time during which the light of the sun is visible;
day; especially, the dawn of day.
The murderer, rising with the light, killeth the
poor and needy. --Job xxiv.
4. The brightness of the eye or eyes.
He seemed to find his way without his eyes;
For out o'door he went without their helps,
And, to the last, bended their light on me. --Shak.
5. The medium through which light is admitted, as a window,
or window pane; a skylight; in architecture, one of the
compartments of a window made by a mullion or mullions.
There were windows in three rows, and light was
against light in three ranks. --I Kings
6. Life; existence.
O, spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born !
7. Open view; a visible state or condition; public
The duke yet would have dark deeds darkly answered;
he would never bring them to light. --Shak.
8. The power of perception by vision.
My strength faileth me; as for the light of my eyes,
it also is gone from me. --Ps. xxxviii.
9. That which illumines or makes clear to the mind; mental or
spiritual illumination; enlightenment; knowledge;
He shall never know
That I had any light of this from thee. --Shak.
10. Prosperity; happiness; joy; felicity.
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning,
and thy health shall spring forth speedily. --Is.
11. (Paint.) The manner in which the light strikes upon a
picture; that part of a picture which represents those
objects upon which the light is supposed to fall; the
more illuminated part of a landscape or other scene; --
opposed to shade. Cf. Chiaroscuro.
12. Appearance due to the particular facts and circumstances
presented to view; point of view; as, to state things
fairly and put them in the right light.
Frequent consideration of a thing . . . shows it in
its several lights and various ways of appearance.
13. One who is conspicuous or noteworthy; a model or example;
as, the lights of the age or of antiquity.
Joan of Arc,
A light of ancient France. --Tennyson.
14. (Pyrotech.) A firework made by filling a case with a
substance which burns brilliantly with a white or colored
flame; as, a Bengal light.
Note: Light is used figuratively to denote that which
resembles physical light in any respect, as
illuminating, benefiting, enlightening, or enlivening
Ancient lights (Law), Calcium light, Flash light, etc.
See under Ancient, Calcium, etc.
Light ball (Mil.), a ball of combustible materials, used to
afford light; -- sometimes made so as to be fired from a
cannon or mortar, or to be carried up by a rocket.
Light barrel (Mil.), an empty power barrel pierced with
holes and filled with shavings soaked in pitch, used to
light up a ditch or a breach.
Light dues (Com.), tolls levied on ships navigating certain
waters, for the maintenance of lighthouses.
Light iron, a candlestick. [Obs.]
Light keeper, a person appointed to take care of a
lighthouse or light-ship.
Light money, charges laid by government on shipping
entering a port, for the maintenance of lighthouses and
The light of the countenance, favor; kindness; smiles.
Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon
us. --Ps. iv. 6.
Northern lights. See Aurora borealis, under Aurora.
To bring to light, to cause to be disclosed.
To come to light, to be disclosed.
To see the light, to come into the light; hence, to come
into the world or into public notice; as, his book never
saw the light.
To stand in one's own light, to take a position which is
injurious to one's own interest.
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Ancient \An"cient\, a. [OE. auncien, F. ancien, LL. antianus,
fr. L. ante before. See Ante-, pref.]
1. Old; that happened or existed in former times, usually at
a great distance of time; belonging to times long past;
specifically applied to the times before the fall of the
Roman empire; -- opposed to modern; as, ancient authors,
literature, history; ancient days.
Witness those ancient empires of the earth.
Gildas Albanius . . . much ancienter than his
namesake surnamed the Wise. --Fuller.
2. Old; that has been of long duration; of long standing; of
great age; as, an ancient forest; an ancient castle. "Our
ancient bickerings." --Shak.
Remove not the ancient landmarks, which thy fathers
have set. --Prov. xxii.
An ancient man, strangely habited, asked for
3. Known for a long time, or from early times; -- opposed to
recent or new; as, the ancient continent.
A friend, perhaps, or an ancient acquaintance.
4. Dignified, like an aged man; magisterial; venerable.
He wrought but some few hours of the day, and then
would he seem very grave and ancient. --Holland.
5. Experienced; versed. [Obs.]
Though [he] was the youngest brother, yet he was the
most ancient in the business of the realm.
6. Former; sometime. [Obs.]
They mourned their ancient leader lost. --Pope.
Ancient demesne (Eng. Law), a tenure by which all manors
belonging to the crown, in the reign of William the
Conqueror, were held. The numbers, names, etc., of these
were all entered in a book called Domesday Book.
Ancient lights (Law), windows and other openings which have
been enjoined without molestation for more than twenty
years. In England, and in some of the United States, they
acquire a prescriptive right.
Syn: Old; primitive; pristine; antique; antiquated;
Usage: Ancient, Antiquated, Obsolete, Antique,
Antic, Old. -- Ancient is opposed to modern, and
has antiquity; as, an ancient family, ancient
landmarks, ancient institutions, systems of thought,
etc. Antiquated describes that which has gone out of
use or fashion; as, antiquated furniture, antiquated
laws, rules, etc. Obsolete is commonly used, instead
of antiquated, in reference to language, customs,
etc.; as, an obsolete word or phrase, an obsolete
expression. Antique is applied, in present usage,
either to that which has come down from the ancients;
as, an antique cameo, bust, etc.; or to that which is
made to imitate some ancient work of art; as, an
antique temple. In the days of Shakespeare, antique
was often used for ancient; as, "an antique song," "an
antique Roman;" and hence, from singularity often
attached to what is ancient, it was used in the sense
of grotesque; as, "an oak whose antique root peeps
out; " and hence came our present word antic, denoting
grotesque or ridiculous. We usually apply both ancient
and old to things subject to gradual decay. We say, an
old man, an ancient record; but never, the old stars,
an old river or mountain. In general, however, ancient
is opposed to modern, and old to new, fresh, or
recent. When we speak of a thing that existed
formerly, which has ceased to exist, we commonly use
ancient; as, ancient republics, ancient heroes; and
not old republics, old heroes. But when the thing
which began or existed in former times is still in
existence, we use either ancient or old; as, ancient
statues or paintings, or old statues or paintings;
ancient authors, or old authors, meaning books.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
ANCIENT LIGHTS, estates. Windows which have been opened for twenty years or
more, and enjoyed without molestation by the owner of the house. 5 Har. &
John. 477; 12 Mass. R. 157,.220.
2. It is proposed to consider, 1. How the right of ancient light is
gained. 2, What amounts to interruption of an ancient light. 3, The remedy
for obstructing an ancient light.
3.-1. How the right of opening or keeping a window open is gained. 1.
By grant. 2. By lapse of time. Formerly it was holden that a party could not
maintain an action for a nuisance to an ancient light, unless he had gained
a right to the window by prescription. 1 Leon. 188; Cro. Eliz. 118. But the
modern doctrine is, that upon proof of an adverse enjoyment of light; for
twenty years or upwards, unexplained, a jury may be directed to presume a
right by grant, or otherwise. 2 Saund. 176, a; 12 Mass. 159; 1 Esp. R. 148.
See also 1 Bos. & Pull. 400.; 3 East, 299; Phil. Ev. 126; 11 East, 372; Esp.
Dig. 636. But if the window was opened during the seisin of a mere tenant
for life, or a tenancy for years, and the owner in fee did not acquiesce in,
or know of, the use of the light, he would not be bound. 11 East, 372; 3
Camp. 444; 4 Camp. 616. If the owner of a close builds a house upon one half
of it, with a window lighted from the other half, he cannot obstruct lights
on the premises granted by him; and in such case no lapse of time necessary
to confirm the grantee's right to enjoy them. 1 Vent. 237, 289; 1 Lev. 122;
1 Keb. 553; Sid. 167, 227; L. Raym. 87; 6 Mod. 116; 1 Price, 27; 12 Mass.
159, Rep. 24; 2 Saund. 114, n. 4; Hamm. N. P. 202; Selw. N. P. 1090; Com.
Dig. Action on the Case for a Nuisance, A. Where a building has been used
twenty years to one purpose, (as a malt house,) and it is converted to
another, (as a dwelling-house,) it is entitled in its new state only to the
same degree of light which was necessary in its former state. 1 Campb. 322;
and see 3 Campb. 80. It has been justly remarked, that the English doctrine
as to ancient lights can hardly be regarded as applicable to narrow lots in
the new and growing cities of this country; for the effect of the rule would
be greatly to impair the value of vacant lots, or those having low buildings
upon them, in the neighborhood of other buildings more than twenty years
old. 3 Kent, Com. 446, n.
4.-2. What amounts to an interruption of an ancient light. Where a
window has been completely blocked up for twenty years, it loses its
privilege. 3 Camp. 514. An abandonment of the right by express agreement, or
by acts from which an abandonment may be inferred, will deprive the party
having such ancient light of his right to it. The building of a blank wall
where the lights formerly existed, would have that effect. 3 B. & Cr. 332.
See Ad. & Ell. 325.
5.-3. Of the remedy for interrupting an ancient light. 1. An action
on the case will lie against a person who obstructs an ancient light. 9 Co.
58; 2 Rolle's Abr. 140, 1. Nusans, G 10. And see Bac. Ab. Actions on the
Case, D; Carth. 454; Comb. 481; 6 Mod. 116.
6. Total deprivation of light is not necessary to sustain this action,
and if the party cannot enjoy the light in so free and ample a manner as he
did before, he may sustain the action; but there should be some sensible
diminution of the light and air. 4. Esp. R. 69. The building a wall which
merely obstructs the right, is not actionable. 9 Ca. 58, b; 1 Mod. 55.
7.-4. Nor is the opening windows and destroying, the privacy of the
adjoining property; but such new window may be immediately obstructed to
prevent a right to it being acquired by twenty years use. 3 Campb. 82.
8.-5. When the right is clearly established, courts of equity will
grant an injunction to restrain a party from building so near the
plaintiff's house as to darken his windows. 2 Vern. 646; 2 Bro. C. C. 65; 16
Ves. 338; Eden on Inj. 268, 9; 1 Story on Eq Sec. 926; 1 Smith's Chan. Pr.
593.; 4 Simm. 559; 2 Russ. R. 121. See Injunction; Plan.
See generally on this subject, 1 Nels. Abr. 56, 7; 16 Vin. Abr. 26; 1
Leigh's N. P. C. 6, s. 8, p. 558; 12 E. C. L. R. 218; 24 Id. 401; 21 Id.
373; 1 id. 161; 10 Id. 99; 28 Id. 143; 23 Am. Jur. 46 to 64; 3 Kent, Com.
446, 2d ed. 7 Wheat. R. 106; 19 Wend. R. 309; Math on Pres. 318 to 323; 2
Watts, 331; 9 Bing. 305; 1 Chit. Pr. 206, 208; 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 1619-23.