- with little weight, force, intensity, etc.; gently: to press lightly on a door bell.
- to only a small amount or degree; slightly: lightly fried eggs.
- nimbly; quickly: to leap lightly aside.
- with a lack of concern; indifferently; slightly: to think lightly of one’s achievements.
- cheerfully; without complaining: to take bad news lightly.
- without due consideration or reason (often used negatively): an offer not to be refused lightly.
- easily; without trouble or effort: Lightly come, lightly go.
- frivolously; flippantly: to behave lightly.
- airily; buoyantly: flags floating lightly.
adv.Old English leohtlice “so as not to be heavy” (of material things, but also of sleep, blows, etc.); cognate with Old Frisian lichtelik, Old High German lihtlihho, German leichtlich, Old Norse lettlega (see light (adj.1)). Meaning “frivolously, indifferently” is from early 13c. see get off (lightly); once over lightly.