American English

Definition of lightly adverb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1gently; with very little force or effort He kissed her lightly on the cheek. She ran lightly up the stairs.
  2. 2to a small degree; not much It began to snow lightly. She tends to sleep lightly nowadays (= it is easy to wake her). I try to eat lightly (= not to eat heavy or greasy food).
  3. 3in a way that sounds as though you are not particularly worried or interested synonym “I'll be all right,” he said lightly.
  4. 4without being seriously considered This is not a problem we should take lightly. Such fears should not be dismissed lightly.
  5. Idioms
    get off/be let off lightly (informal)
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    to be punished or treated in a way that is less severe than you deserve or may have expected He got off lightly with a small fine. The children were let off lightly.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: lightly