Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

light up - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theylight up
he/she/itlights up
present participlelighting up
past tenselit up
past participlelit up
Related words
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] informal to light a cigarette
  2. 2
    [transitive] same as light

    They could see the airport lit up far below them.

  3. 3
    [intransitive] to become bright or light

    There was a flash of lightning and the sky lit up.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] if a light lights up, it starts to shine
  5. 5
    [intransitive/transitive] if someone’s face or eyes light up, they express a strong emotion, usually happiness or excitement

    Antony’s eyes lit up when Keiko walked into the room.

See also main entry: light


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play