English Language; Drama & Speech; Social Etiquette. Est. 1986, Hong Kong

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29 July 2016

Light Up Your Vocabulary

“Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century. It has revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic and political aspects of the global society.” – United Nations

This quotation shows why the United Nations has declared 2015 to be the “International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies”, so let’s look at the language of light.  Knowing more “light” words can add a sparkle to our writing!

“Light” meaning “not dark”’ comes from the same Indo-European root as Greek leukos (white) and the Latin lux (light). The word “light” can be used in the metaphorical sense of light making things easier to see. Secrets “come to light” or are “brought to light”. Information “sheds”, “casts”, or “throws light” on problems while ideas that become renowned are said to “see the light of day”.

Light clarifies as in expressions that use “light” in reference to understanding. Decisions can be made “in the light of recent events”. People can be shown in either a “good, bad or different light”. If people show their real character, they are “seen in their true light”.

A person’s consciousness is also metaphorically represented as light as in the expression “to go out like a light”, that is, to fall asleep quickly. This expression evolves from the ease with which a candle can be put out or electric lights be turned off.

“Light” also suggests hope or goodness as in “she is all sweetness and light”. There is the common metaphor of “light at the end of the tunnel” (emerging from a railway tunnel), which is an indication that something troublesome is coming to an end.  A “face lights up” when good news is heard. A “leading light” is a prominent or influential person in some field of endeavour, while your spouse or child can be the “light of your life”.

Now, shed some light on your writing with these “light” words!