fairy lights

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From the small battery-powered incandescent lights, manufactured by the Swan United Electric Light Company, that were worn by fairy characters in Gilbert and Sullivan's opera Iolanthe in its opening season in 1882.[1]


fairy lights pl (normally plural, singular fairy light)

  1. (Britain) Small electric lights on a strand which are used decoratively, especially on Christmas trees.
    • 2010, Trisha Ashley, Twelve Days of Christmas, HarperCollins, →ISBN, unnumbered page:
      I managed to put quite a lot of small baubles on the top of the tree that way and helped drape the long string of fairy lights around it, []
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:fairy lights.