- the light of day: At the end of the tunnel they could see daylight.
- public knowledge or awareness; openness: The newspaper article brought the scandal out into the daylight.
- the period of day; daytime.
- daybreak; dawn.
- a clear space or gap, especially between two people or things that should be close together, as between the knees of a horseback rider and a saddle.
- disagreement or mental distance between two people: There’s very little daylight between the two senators’ stances on the issue.
- daylights, Informal. mental soundness, consciousness, or wits: The noise scared the daylights out of us.I’d like to beat/knock the daylights out of him!
- Photography. of, relating to, or being film made for exposure by the natural light of day.
verb (used with object), day·light·ed or day·lit, day·light·ing.
- to suffuse (an interior space) with artificial light or with daylight filtered through translucent materials, as roofing panels.
- see daylight, to progress to a point where completion of a difficult task seems possible or probable.
- light from the sun
- (as modifier)daylight film
- the period when it is light; daytime
- see daylight
- to understand something previously obscure
- to realize that the end of a difficult task is approaching
c.1300 (as two words from mid-12c., daies liht), from day + light (n.); its figurative sense of “clearly visible open space between two things” (1820) has been used in references to boats in a race, U.S. football running backs avoiding opposing tackles, a rider and a saddle, and the rim of a glass and the surface of the liquor. The (living) daylights that you beat out of someone were originally slang for “the eyes” (1752), extended figuratively to the vital senses.
In addition to the idiom beginning with daylight
- daylight robbery
- beat the living daylights out of
- begin to see daylight
- in broad daylight
- let daylight through
- scare out of one’s wits (the living daylights out of)