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Etymology 1[edit]

light (pale) +‎ -er (comparative)



  1. comparative form of light: more light
    I prefer a lighter shade of pink.

Etymology 2[edit]

A lighter (sense 2)

light (ignite) +‎ -er (agent)


lighter (plural lighters)

  1. One who, or that which, lights.
    a lighter of lamps
  2. A small, reusable handheld device for creating fire, especially for lighting cigarettes.
    Cigarette in mouth, he clutched his pockets in search of a lighter.
  • Japanese: ライター (raitā)
  • Korean: 라이터 (raiteo)

Etymology 3[edit]

light (unload, lighten) +‎ -er (agent); or possibly from Middle Low German luchter


lighter (plural lighters)

  1. A flat-bottomed boat for carrying heavy loads across short distances (especially for canals or for loading or unloading larger boats).


lighter (third-person singular simple present lighters, present participle lightering, simple past and past participle lightered)

  1. To transfer (cargo or passengers) to or from a ship by means of a lighter or other small vessel.
    • 1900. Report of the Commission Appointed by the President to Investigate the Conduct of the War Department in the War with Spain. Vol. 7, pg. 3227.
      Troops and stores were lightered to the wharves inside the harbor by steamers Orizaba and Berkshire.
  2. To transfer cargo or fuel from (a ship), lightening it to make its draft less or to make it easier to refloat.


Etymology 4[edit]

light (not heavy, weak) +‎ -er (comparative)



  1. comparative form of light: more light
    What happened? You look 10 lbs. lighter!
    I wish I'd thrown a lighter punch; he's out cold.
    • 1964 May, “News and Comment: WR's new parcel traffic method”, in Modern Railways, page 300:
      It is lighter to handle and more manoeuvrable, and its three caged sides with web straps on the fourth prevent movement of the contents.
    • 2021 May 19, David Clough, “Swiss precision meets UK growth”, in RAIL, number 931, page 57:
      For example, lightweight construction and Jacobs bogies save weight, and a lighter train uses less power.