The Meaning of In Light Of: What It Is and How To Use It

Ever seen the phrase “in light of” in an article or crossword puzzle and wondered what it meant? This guide will provide you with all of the necessary info on the phrase in light of, including its meaning, usage, origin, sentence examples, and more!

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What does the English phrase in light of mean?

According to American Heritage English Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary, and other dictionary apps, the phrase “in light of” or “in the light of” means “because of, due to, in consideration of, or in relationship to.” This is one of many idioms containing the word light. The Free Dictionary states that the phrase in light of refers to a new piece of information or revelation that affects a situation. It implies that there is a certain knowledge that is now in hand, or recent events that have occurred. One other popular phrase containing “in light of” is the phrase “in light of recent events.” This is commonly used in press releases, speeches, or other situations in which one would address a crowd to inform them of something. This phrase has a couple of different variants. These include “in the light of” and “in view of.”

What are synonyms for the word in light of?

According to Thesaurus and The Idioms, there are numerous different words and phrases one can use in place of the phrase “in light of.” Enago states that a synonym is a word that means the same thing as a given word, stemming from the Greek words “syn” meaning “together” and “onym” meaning “name.” One may choose to use a synonym for a certain phrase to avoid repeated use of a phrase, to expand one’s vocabulary, or to alter the formality based on a given circumstance. Many synonyms for the phrase “in light of” are listed below.

  • Seeing as
  • All in all
  • Considering
  • All things considered
  • As
  • As long as
  • Because
  • Because of
  • Everything being equal
  • All things equal
  • For
  • Forasmuch as
  • In consideration of
  • In view of
  • Inasmuch as
  • Insomuch as
  • Now
  • Pending
  • Since
  • Taking into account
  • Due to
  • bearing in mind
  • keeping in mind
  • mindful of
  • taking note of

What is the origin of the phrase in light of?

Dictionary states that both of the phrases “in light of” and “in the light of” have been used since the late 1600s. The third variant, “in view of,” has been used since roughly the year 1800. Etymonline also confirms this. They state that the usage of light meaning “some consideration which puts something in a certain view” has been used since the 1680s. 

While both of these websites states when the term initially came into popularity, neither can pinpoint exactly where the phrase was first used or what the etymology of the phrase was. It has a slight relation to the phrase “to shed light on.” If someone sheds light on something, that means that they are providing information about it. This goes along with the metaphor that in the light means in a place where there is knowledge and information. Thus, “in light of” or “in the light of” something came to mean because of the knowledge or information gained about a certain thing, person or event.

How can the phrase in light of be used in a sentence?

The English language phrase in light of can be used in many different circumstances. In English grammar, this is considered an idiom. This is considered a polite phrase, and can therefore be used in a variety of circumstances in both casual, professional, and formal conversations. This phrase is also commonly seen in speeches and press releases, amongst other scenarios.

In this first example, James is speaking to his company group about their work from home protocol when their office is shut down.

James: Hi all, I wanted to call you all in here to talk to you about how we will be running going forward. In light of recent events, we are all going to work from home for the time being. We do not currently have a return date into the office; I know this puts us all in a bit of a limbo, but I can assure you we will update you with more information as soon as we have it. Please log out of your computers and take your laptops home with you.

Here, James uses the phrase in light of to refer to events that are causing the company to work from home. This is similar to saying “because of recent events,” “due to recent events,” or any other number of synonyms. In this next example, Dr. Reid must send an email to a student she caught cheating in her class.

Hi Mark,

Unfortunately in light of the plagiarism we discovered during last week’s exam, I have no choice but to fail you in this course and report you to the dean of students. Cheating is not something we take lightly here, and we have a zero-tolerance policy. You will be hearing from the dean.

Best,

Dr. Reid

Overall, the English phrase “in light of” means “because of” or “in consideration of.” This is used at the beginning of a sentence to alert the listener that one is going to give a reasoning, and then an action. This is commonly used in the phrase “in light of recent events,” which can be used in speeches, press releases, or other statements in which someone is informing a large group or something.

Sources:

  1. https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=light
  2. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/in-the-light-of-sth
  3. https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/in+light+of
  4. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/in%20light%20of
  5. https://www.enago.com/academy/how-to-use-synonyms-effectively-in-a-sentence/#:~:text=When%20speaking%20or%20writing%2C%20one,synonyms%20(similar%20meaning%20words).&text=It%20is%20important%20because%20synonyms,noted%20in%20the%20following%20section.
  6. https://www.theidioms.com/in-light-of/
  7. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/in–light–of
  8. https://www.etymonline.com/word/light