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.