Entries linking to lights
"not heavy, having little actual weight," from Old English leoht (West Saxon), leht (Anglian), "not heavy, light in weight; lightly constructed; easy to do, trifling; quick, agile," also of food, sleep, etc., from Proto-Germanic *lingkhtaz (source also of Old Norse lettr, Swedish lätt, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch licht, German leicht, Gothic leihts), from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight." The adverb is Old English leohte, from the adjective.
Meaning "frivolous" is from early 13c.; that of "unchaste" from late 14c., both from the notion of "lacking moral gravity" (compare levity). Of literature from 1590s. Light industry (1919) makes use of relatively lightweight materials. The notion in make light of (1520s) is "unimportance." Alternative spelling lite, the darling of advertisers, is first recorded 1962. Light horse "light armed cavalry" is from 1530s. Light-skirts "woman of easy virtue" is attested from 1590s. Lighter-than-air (adj.) is from 1887.
"human or animal respiratory organ," c. 1300, from Old English lungen (plural), from Proto-Germanic *lunganjo- (source also of Old Norse lunge, Old Frisian lungen, Middle Dutch longhe, Dutch long, Old High German lungun, German lunge "lung"), literally "the light organ," from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight" (source also of Russian lëgkij, Polish lekki "light;" Russian lëgkoje "lung").
So called perhaps because in a cook pot lungs of a slaughtered animal float, while the heart, liver, etc., do not. Compare Portuguese leve "lung," from Latin levis "light;" Irish scaman "lungs," from scaman "light;" Welsh ysgyfaint "lungs," from ysgafn "light." See also lights, pulmonary. Lung cancer is attested from 1882. Lung-power "strength of voice" is from 1852 (an account of singing from 1841 describes twenty-lung-power effort.
"of or pertaining to the lungs; affecting the lungs; done by means of the lungs," 1704, from French pulmonaire and directly from Latin pulmonarius "of the lungs," from pulmo (genitive pulmonis) "lung(s)," cognate with Greek pleumon "lung," Old Church Slavonic plusta, Lithuanian plaučiai "lungs," all from PIE -*pl(e)umon- "lung(s)," literally "floater," suffixed form of root *pleu- "to flow."
The explanation behind the proposed PIE etymology is the fact that, when thrown into a pot of water, lungs of a slaughtered animal float, while the heart, liver, etc., do not. Compare Middle English lights "the lungs," literally "the light (in weight) organs." Also see pneumo-.
updated on November 07, 2012