Green’s Dictionary of Slang

light v.1

SE in slang uses

In phrases

light a rag (v.) (also light a shuck)

(US Und.) to leave at high speed, to run off fast.

[US]J. Thorp ‘Little Joe, the Wrangler’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 35: So he he saddled up old Chaw one night and ‘lit a shuck’ this way.
[US]J. Lomax Cowboy Songs 167: So he saddled up old Chaw one night and lit a shuck this way.
[US] in Botkin Folk-Say 166: He jest grobbed ’em and lit a shuck fer home.
[US](con. 1800s) ‘The Bell Witch of Tennessee and Mississippi’ in A.P. Hudson Humor of the Old Deep South 442: I’ll get you out. Hump it back to your wagon now – light a shuck!
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 101: It’s a lot easier just to plug the roper and watch the mark light a rag.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Ruby Ransom’ Hollywood Detective Dec. [Internet] powdered outdoors; piled into my jalopy and lit a shuck for downtown.
[US]Z.N. Hurston Seraph on the Suwanee (1995) 628: Git! Light a shuck offen this place!
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 86: I lit a shuck back to my regular old pad and jumped into a different tog.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 49: I lit a shuck out of there before he could take his second shot.
light into (v.) (also light (down) on, light in (on))(Irish/US)

1. to attack physically.

[US]‘Mark Twain’ in Paine Biography I 275: Tom Maguire, Roused to ire, Lighted on McDougal; Tore his coat, Clutched his throat, And split him in the bugle [DA].
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 243: I lit into him, and we had it rough-and-tumble all around the hall.
[US]Ade Fables in Sl. (1902) 80: Shortly after Breakfast his Paw lured him into the Barn and Lit on him. He got a good Holt on the Adam’s Apple.
[US]H. Garland Eagle’s Heart 28: He lit into me with a big clasp-knife.
[US]N.Y. Tribune 23 Aug. 5/3: Cress an’ me’ll jist nachally light in an’ he’p y’u chew up the hull bunch!
[US]R. Lardner ‘Champion’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 125: The only trouble we have with him is gettin’ him to light into these poor bums they match him up with.
[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers 87: ‘Looks like there was going to be another offensive at Verdun,’ said Dan Cohen [...] ‘I guess we’re lightin’ into ’em all right,’ said Fuselli in a patriotic voice.
[US]C. Himes ‘Pork Chop Paradise’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 254: He struck another guard in front of him and the two of them lit on him like ducks on a June bug and beat some of the black out of him.
[US]C. Himes ‘Make with the Shape’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 113: Instead of taking it on the lam, Lulu lit in on Jessie May.
[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 461: You stand back or I’ll light into you, cops or no cops.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Whoreson 213: Before the words were out of my mouth, I had lit into her with the coat hangers.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 62: Somebody would light into him, then everybody else sprang.

2. to attack verbally, to criticize.

[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Huckleberry Finn 237: The king sassed back as much as was safe for him, and then swapped around and lit into me again.
[US]R. Grant Average Man 3: She was in love with Willis Blake, but her stern parent lit down on her [DA].
[US]S. Lewis Our Mr Wrenn (1936) 20: Say, did you hear old Goglefogle light into me this morning?
[US]N. West ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ in Coll. Works (1975) 243: That got me riled and I lit into the bastard and gave him a piece of my mind.
[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 156: He knew why he had lit into Dorsey [...] I jumped this boy because I was pissed at Jackson.
[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 73: I wish youd wait until I do somethin that you can get on me about before you start lightin into me.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 203: At that, she really lit into me.
[Ire]O’Reilly & Sixth Class Over the Half Door n.p.: I got a pliers, a screwdriver and a phase tester stuck in my locker where I had left them. The electrician came over and lit on me. ‘You were doing our work last night.’ [BS].
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.

3. to tackle, to attack, whether food or a task.

[US]J.H. Beadle Western Wilds 187: They double-quicked into town and lit in generally.
Freeman & Kingsley Alabaster Box 3: He’ll light into those hot doughnuts .
[US]H.A. Smith Life in a Putty Knife Factory (1948) 110: He turned back to the wall and lit into ‘It Came upon a Midnight Clear’.
[Ire]J. Plunkett Coll. Short Stories 282: The kid lit into the biscuits right away and Danny went up to pay for them.
light off (v.)

to have an orgasm [SE light off, to ignite as an explosive].

[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 99: The broad’s great in the sack and she lights off real easy.
light out (v.) (also light for, light off) [? naut. use light out, to move something along, e.g. a sail]

(US) to leave, to escape, to hurry off.

[US]T.F. Upson diary 10 Mar. in Winther With Sherman to the Sea (1958) 49: We did not stay for tea but lit out for camp.
[US]Gen. Custer letter 23 Sept. in Custer Boots And Saddles (1999) 297: I knew that my family [...] was in advance somewhere, and, as the saying is, I just ‘lit out’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 25 Apr. 14/2: Then he packed a few traps in his ears, and lit out for the interior.
[US]F.D. Srygley Seventy Years in Dixie 239: We all had to light out fur Arkansaw.
[UK]A.N. Lyons Arthur’s 266: When we lit off at Victoria Station, Arthur sniffed the atmosphere of that popular resort with unfeigned pleasure.
[US]W.M. Raine Brand Blotters (1912) 27: When Burke sent me to his room he had lit out, taken a swift hike into the hills.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 195: ‘I’ll wait,’ says he lightin’ out for de door.
[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers 77: Well, we didn’t mess around with them captains. We just lit off down a side street an’ got into a little café.
[US]D. Hammett ‘$106,000 Blood Money’ Story Omnibus (1966) 329: ‘On the jump,’ I grunted and lit out for the dark cottage.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 168: Suddenly, Kenny lit for the rear platform.
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 183: We’ll know exactly where we want to light out for.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 134: If I hadn’t been with the guy [...] since I was fifteen I sure in hell would have lit out for Oklahoma.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 122: Frosty chases him there only to find he’s lit out for Brisbane.
[US]C. Himes Run Man Run (1969) 162: I lit out and ran for my life.
[US]A. Brooke Last Toke 190: Seem they packing to do y’all ’bout to light out fo’ Georgia.
[US]C. Fleming High Concept 93: Most of her girls had lit out after that.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 262: They went after Johnny Ray. He lit out for parts unknown.
light up

see separate entries.