Middle English Dictionary Entry

light adj.(2)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1a.
(a) Of things: light in weight; light in proportion to bulk, of small specific gravity; of persons: thin; also fig.; (b) of containers: light in content, empty; of measures: underweight; with ~ lepes, on the cheap, cheaply; (c) of persons: lightly dressed; of soldiers: light-armed; of shoes, garments, etc.: made of light materials; of vehicles, vessels: lightly built; (d) light in touch; of impressions or imprints: faint, superficial; (e) as noun: the quality of lightness in weight.
1b.
(a) Of clouds: fleecy, downy, thin; of bread: that is risen, not heavy; (b) of pus, animal excrement: thin, loose; (c) of color: not deep or dark, light, pale; ~ bleu (grene, red); ~ whit, ?off-white; (d) of marshy ground: boggy; of fleshly growths, proud flesh: soft.
2.
(a) Free of pain; relieved of an illness; maken ~, to heal (sb. of a disease); (b) delivered of a child; ben light(er of.
3.
(a) Of burdens, penance: easy to bear, not burdensome, not harsh; (b) of diseases, wounds, pain, etc.: mild, not severe; of fever: low; of battles: not intense or violent, light; (c) of medicines, medicinal properties, and medical treatments: gentle, mild, also fig.
4a.
(a) Of actions, crafts, offices, ways of action: easy to perform or fulfill; ~ as diche water; in saying: mani hondes maken ~ werk; (b) in impers. constr. with inf. phrase; -- with or without dat. obj.; (c) of the object of an action: easy; -- as predicate adj. with inf. phrase; (d) of ~, ?easily.
4b.
(a) Of food, wine: easy to digest; (b) of language, words, books, etc.: readily understandable; simple; easy to pronounce or recite; of questions: easy to answer or explain; (c) of commands, rules, etc.: easy to follow or obey; (d) of a route: easy to travel on; (e) of permission, consent: easily granted.
5.
(a) Of persons, animals, their feet, gait, leaps, etc.: swift, speedy; agile, nimble; energetic, brisk, active; also, of the development of a disease: fast; ~ of fot (lim); ~ of tonge, ?talkative, loquacious; ~ to flien (rennen, walken); (b) of knights, their hearts, manner, countenance: brave, valiant, hardy, fierce; (c) of wealth, possessions: transitory, temporal.
6.
Eager; prepared (to do sth.), willing; ~ to, ready for (actions), prone to; of ~ bileve, credulous, trusting; ~ of ere, attentive.
7.
(a) Of persons, the heart or soul: cheerful, merry, joyful; pleasant; glad (that sb. does sth.); ~ as ani jai, ~ as brid in (on) boue; ~ as (lef on) linde; ~ of, delighted with (sth.), pleased; (b) of words, speech, songs: expressing joy or mirth; (c) of an office: joyful, happy;(d) ?reconciled.
8.
(a) Of persons, manners, thoughts, heart, words, etc.: lacking seriousness, foolish, frivolous, careless; ?irresponsible; (b) fickle, unsteady; ~ of love, inconstant, unfaithful; (c) of persons, the heart, eyes, glances, etc.: lewd, lascivious; of women: unchaste.
9.
(a) Insignificant, of slight importance; of a festival: minor; of a glance:?casual; (b) of sins: venial; of temptation, offenses, emotions, etc.: trivial, slight, inconsiderable; (c) of cost, price, ransom, etc.: cheap, small in amount; of small value; (with) ~ chep (cost), at a low price or cost, cheaply; ~ of pris, inexpensive; setten at ~ pris, to hold (sb.) in low regard; make light of (sth.); in saying: ~ chep(es lither(li foryeldes, a cheap bargain yields poorly; (d) of an offering or share: small; (e) of food or diet: scanty, meager, inadequate; (f) as noun: that which is of little value or importance; setten at ~, to have little regard for (sth.), disregard.
10.
Light-headed, mentally disordered.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1400(?c1390) Gawain (Nero A.10)1250 : Þe prys & þe prowes þat plesez al oþer, If I hit lakked oþer set at lyʒt, hit were littel daynte.
  • Note: Antedates 1st occ. of phr. in 9.(b).
  • (a1398) *Trev.Barth.(Add 27944)36a/a : Colerik men beþ generalliche wraþeful, hardy, vnmeke, liʒt, vnstable, inpetuous.
  • Note: Antedates 8.(b)
  • ?c1425 Chauliac(2) (Paris angl.25)168/34 : Þilke membres ben ful sensible, i. light of felynge.
  • Note: A slightly diff. meaning; prob. light adj. 5.(a) - but only 'of the dev. of a disease'--per REL