Entries linking to arc-light
late 14c., "part of a curved line," originally in reference to the sun's apparent motion across the sky, from Old French arc "bow, arch, vault" (12c.), from Latin arcus "a bow, arch," from Proto-Italic *arkwo- "bow."
This has Germanic cognates in Gothic arhvazna, Old English earh, Old Norse ör "arrow," from Proto-Germanic *arkw-o- "belonging to a bow." It also has cognates in Greek arkeuthos, Latvian ercis "juniper," Russian rakita, Czech rokyta, Serbo-Croatian rakita "brittle willow." De Vaan sees an Italo-Germanic word for "bow" which can be connected with Balto-Slavic and Greek words for "willow" and "juniper" "under the well-founded assumption that the flexible twigs of juniper or willow were used as bows." The Balto-Slavic and Greek forms point to *arku-; "as with many plant names, this is likely to be a non-IE loanword."
The electrical sense is attested from 1821.
"brightness, radiant energy, that which makes things visible," Old English leht (Anglian), leoht (West Saxon), "light, daylight; spiritual illumination," from Proto-Germanic *leukhtam (source also of Old Saxon lioht, Old Frisian liacht, Middle Dutch lucht, Dutch licht, Old High German lioht, German Licht, Gothic liuhaþ "light"), from PIE root *leuk- "light, brightness."
The -gh- was an Anglo-French scribal attempt to render the Germanic hard -h- sound, which has since disappeared from this word. The figurative spiritual sense was in Old English; the sense of "mental illumination" is first recorded mid-15c. Meaning "something used for igniting" is from 1680s. Meaning "a consideration which puts something in a certain view" (as in in light of) is from 1680s. Short for traffic light from 1938. Quaker use is by 1650s; New Light/Old Light in church doctrine also is from 1650s. Meaning "person eminent or conspicuous" is from 1590s. A source of joy or delight has been the light of (someone's) eyes since Old English:
Ðu eart dohtor min, minra eagna leoht [Juliana].
Phrases such as according to (one's) lights "to the best of one's natural or acquired capacities" preserve an older sense attested from 1520s. To figuratively stand in (someone's) light is from late 14c. To see the light "come into the world" is from 1680s; later as "come to full realization" (1812). The rock concert light-show is from 1966. To be out like a light "suddenly or completely unconscious" is from 1934.
updated on October 10, 2017