What does lightly mean?

Definitions for lightly
ˈlaɪt lilight·ly

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word lightly.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. lightlyadverb

    without good reason

    "one cannot say such things lightly"

  2. lightly, lightadverb

    with few burdens

    "experienced travellers travel light"

  3. lightly, softly, gentlyadverb

    with little weight or force

    "she kissed him lightly on the forehead"

  4. lightlyadverb

    indulging with temperance

    "we eat lightly in the morning"

  5. lightlyadverb

    with indifference or without dejection

    "he took it lightly"

  6. thinly, lightlyadverb

    in a small quantity or extent

    "spread the margarine thinly over the meat"; "apply paint lightly"

  7. lightlyadverb

    to a slight degree

    "her speech is only lightly accented"


  1. lightlyadverb

    In a light manner.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Lightlyadverb

    Etymology: from light.

    This grave partakes the fleshly birth,
    Which cover lightly, gentle earth. Ben Jonson.

    The soft ideas of the cheerful note,
    Lightly receiv’d, were easily forgot. Matthew Prior.

    If they write or speak publickly but five words, one of them is lightly about the dangerous estate of the church of England in respect of abused ceremonies. Richard Hooker, b. iv.

    Believ’t not lightly that your son
    Will not exceed the common, or be caught
    With cautelous baits and practice. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    Short Summer lightly has a forward spring. William Shakespeare.

    The traitor in faction lightly goeth away with it. Francis Bacon.

    Flatter not the rich; neither do thou willingly or lightly appear before great personages. Jeremy Taylor, Guide.

    Let every man that hath a calling be diligent in pursuance of its employment, so as not lightly, or without reasonable occasion, to neglect it. Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living.

    Bid that welcome
    Which comes to punish us, and we punish it,
    Seeming to bear it lightly. William Shakespeare, Ant. and Cleopatra.

    If I were lightly disposed, I could still perhaps have offers, that some, who hold their heads higher, would be glad to accept. Jonathan Swift, Story of an injured Lady.

    Methought I stood on a wide river’s bank;
    When on a sudden, Torismond appear’d,
    Gave me his hand, and led me lightly o’er;
    Leaping and bounding on the billows heads,
    Till safely we had reach’d the farther shore. Dryden.


  1. lightly

    Lightly generally refers to actions or elements performed or present in a gentle, soft, or minimal way, without much emphasis or force. This term can apply to a broad range of phenomena such as touch, cooking, approaching a situation etc., suggesting a low intensity or easy manner in this context.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Lightlyadverb

    with little weight; with little force; as, to tread lightly; to press lightly

  2. Lightlyadverb

    swiftly; nimbly; with agility

  3. Lightlyadverb

    without deep impression

  4. Lightlyadverb

    in a small degree; slightly; not severely

  5. Lightlyadverb

    with little effort or difficulty; easily; readily

  6. Lightlyadverb

    without reason, or for reasons of little weight

  7. Lightlyadverb

    commonly; usually

  8. Lightlyadverb

    without dejection; cheerfully

  9. Lightlyadverb

    without heed or care; with levity; gayly; airily

  10. Lightlyadverb

    not chastely; wantonly

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'lightly' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #4503

  2. Adverbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'lightly' in Adverbs Frequency: #298

How to pronounce lightly?

How to say lightly in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of lightly in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of lightly in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of lightly in a Sentence

  1. Merrick Garland:

    Second, the department does not take such a decision lightly.

  2. Murray King:

    We think we are well-placed but we don't take competition lightly.

  3. Kathleen Fitzpatrick -LRB- 10 -RRB-:

    I usually play basketball with the kids at recess, and I don’t really take it lightly, i play as hard as I can. I just picked up a ball, and said — it was a Friday afternoon — that if I make this shot we’ll have hot chocolate on Monday as a class … I just launched it and it went in.

  4. Quentin Crisp:

    Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow's hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life.

  5. Michael Cohen:

    I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we're in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don't have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know, so I'm warning you, tread very f---ing lightly, because what I'm going to do to you is going to be f---ing disgusting. You understand me?

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for lightly

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"lightly." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/lightly>.

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    manifestly demonstrative
    A currish
    B ostensive
    C dicotyledonous
    D sesquipedalian

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