light

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • adjective of little quantity
  • adjective of thin consistency

Astronomy

  • Electromagnetic radiation in the wavelengths perceived by human eyes, generally taken as being from 400 to 800 nanometres from violet to red. This is the part of the spectrum in which most solar energy is received on Earth, making it the best choice for animals needing to operate on the Earth’s surface, although animals other than man have eyes which respond to light in somewhat different wavelength bands from ours, and not all people respond to exactly the same light wavelengths.

Aviation

  • adjective of little force or requiring little force
  • noun brightness produced by the sun, the moon, a lamp, etc.

Banking

  • adjective not heavy, not very busy or active
  • adjective not having enough of a certain type of share in a portfolio

Cars & Driving

  • noun a vehicle window

Computing

  • noun energy in the form of electromagnetic effects in the frequency range 400 – 750 nm, which allows a person to see

Construction

  • A man-made source of illumination, such as an electric light.
  • A pane of glass.

Cricket

  • noun the opportunity to discontinue play when the light is judged by the umpires to be unfit, offered to the batsmen at the wicket, who are thought of as deputising for the captain of the batting side
    Citation ‘Play began at 3.40, with 25 overs a side the intention, but only one had been bowled by Dennis when the Kent openers were offered the light’ (Guardian 18 July 1983)
    Citation ‘England needed … to pretend that they had more of the initiative than they did. Hence the furore when Lamb “accepted the light” on Monday evening’ (Robin Marlar, Sunday Times 8 July 1984)
    Citation ‘Langer and Hayden probably would not have accepted the light offer had they known it would cost them the rest of the day, but they must also have known it would contain that risk’ (Haigh 2005)

Electronics

  • electromagnetic radiation whose wavelength enables it to be detected by an unaided human eye. The interval of wavelengths so detectable spans from approximately 750 nanometers (red) to approximately 400 nanometers (violet). Light is currently defined as traveling at 2.99792458 × 108 meters per second. Also called light radiation, or visible radiation.
  • electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength, such as infrared, ultraviolet, or X-rays.
  • A source of light (1), such as a the sun, or a lamp.
  • The illumination provided by a light (3).

Food

  • adjective with a pleasant open texture that does not give a feeling of heaviness in the stomach when eaten

Medical

  • adjective referring to hair or skin which is very pale
  • adjective weighing a comparatively small amount
  • noun the energy that makes things bright and helps a person to see

Military

  • noun a natural or artificial brightness which makes it possible to see
  • noun any pyrotechnical device or projectile which lights up an area of ground (e.g., an illuminating round, shermuly, star shell, etc.)
  • verb to apply fire to something
  • abbreviationLt

Real Estate

  • noun a window or other opening in a building, designed to let sunlight in

Wine

  • used to describe a wine that is low in alcohol, a wine that has a light texture or light body, or a wine that is young and fruity and ready to drink young
  • used, almost exclusively in California, to describe wine that has fewer calories than normal wine

Information & Library Science

  • abbreviation in Internet addresses, the top-level domain for Lithuania

Origin & History of “light”

English has two distinct words light. The one meaning ‘illumination’ comes ultimately from Indo-European *leuk-, *louk-, *luk-, which also produced Greek leukós ‘white’ (source of English leukaemia (20th c.)) and Latin lūx ‘light’ (from which English gets lucifer (OE), literally ‘light-bearer’), lūmen ‘light’ (whence English luminous (15th c.)), lūcēre ‘shine’ (source of English lucid (16th c.)), lūstrāre ‘light up’ (whence English illustrate and lustre (16th c.)), and lūna ‘moon’ (source of English lunar). Its main prehistoric west Germanic derivative was *leukhtam, from which come German and Dutch licht and English light. The word lynx may be related.

Light ‘not heavy’ comes from a prehistoric Germanic *lingkhtaz, a close relative of which produced English lung (the word lung thus etymologically denotes ‘something full of air and not heavy’, and indeed lungs were, and animal lungs still are called lights in English).
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