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From Middle English lyghtly, liȝtliche, lihtliche, from Old English lēohtlīċe, equivalent to light +‎ -ly.



lightly (comparative lightlier or more lightly, superlative lightliest or most lightly)

  1. In a light manner.
    As a teacher, I don't take rudeness in class lightly.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter VIII, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 24962326:
      Elbows almost touching they leaned at ease, idly reading the almost obliterated lines engraved there. ¶ "I never understood it," she observed, lightly scornful. "What occult meaning has a sun-dial for the spooney? I'm sure I don't want to read riddles in a strange gentleman's optics."

Derived terms[edit]



  • lightly at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • lightly in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911