Difference between Lite and Light

Updated on March 8, 2017

The English language has many words that have similar pronunciations but have different meanings and spellings. Two of these confusing words are “lite” and “light.” What is the difference between the two? The difference will be discussed in this article.

Definitions

Lite

The word lite is an informal variant of the word “light.” It is used as an adjective which:

  1. Describes something that has a low alcohol, calorie, sugar or fat content; for example: The doctor said it’s okay for me to have a can of lite beer.
  2. Indicates that something is comparatively inferior to the original one (used as a suffix); for example: That new artist pulled a Freddie Mercury-lite performance. (The new artist attempted to sing or perform like Freddie Mercury, but his version was noticeably inferior.)
  3. Indicates that something is less advanced than the original version (used as a suffix); for example: VirusRemover Lite does not have the adware removal feature. (The lite version of the app is not as advanced as the original or full version.)

Additionally, “lite” is typically used in marketing and advertising and not in formal literature.

On the other hand, light functions as a noun, adjective and a verb.

When used as a noun, it means:

  1. “Brightness” or “illumination”; for example: There was a nation-wide blackout last night. The bright light from the full moon allowed us to find our way home.
  2. Something that radiates light, like a fixture; for example: I bought solar garden lights for my new home.

When used as an adjective, “light” means:

  1. Pale, or a color that does not have deep tones; for example: My baby’s clothes are all light blue! I love it!
  2. Something that is not heavy; for example: I make sure my son’s bag is light enough for him to carry.
  3. Something that is not serious; for example: We had a light conversation over coffee.
  4. Something that contains a low level of calories, fat or sugar; for example: Please tell mom to use light mayonnaise when making Jim’s sandwich.

When used as a verb, it means:

  1. To give light to; for example: The mansion is lighted by inexpensive solar-powered bulbs.
  2. To become bright; for example: Don’t be scared. This creepy, dark room lights up at daytime.
  3. To cause something to be brightened or animated with joy; for example: That picture of a cute puppy really lightened the mood.
  4. To ignite a flame; for example: I’ve been trying for hours, but I couldn’t get the firewood to light!

Lite vs Light

What, then, is the difference between lite and light?

“Lite” is primarily used as an adjective in marketing and advertising. It is never used in formal literature. It is used to refer to something that has a low level of calories, sugar, fat or alcohol. It can also be used as a suffix to indicate something that is of an inferior quality compared to the original version, or something that is less advanced than the original version.

On the other hand, “light” can be an adjective, noun and verb. When used as an adjective, it means “pale”, “not heavy”, “not serious” or “something that contains a low level of calories, sugar, fat, or alcohol”. When used as a noun, it means “illumination” or “something that radiates light”. Additionally, it means “to give light to”, “to become bright”. “to cause something to be animated” and “to ignite a flame” when used as a verb. Light is used in formal writing.

Comparison Chart

LiteLight
Primarily used as an adjectiveCan be used as a noun, adjective, and a verb
Used in advertising and marketing; not used in formal literatureUsed in formal writing
It is used to refer to something that has a low level of calories, sugar, fat, or alcohol. It can also be used as a suffix to indicate something that is of an inferior quality compared to the original version, or something that is less advanced than the original version.When used as an adjective, it means pale, not heavy, not serious, or something that contains a low level of calories, sugar, fat, or alcohol. When used as a noun, it means “illumination” or something that radiates light. Additionally, it means “to give light to”, “to become bright”, “to cause something to be animated” and “to ignite a flame” when used as a verb.
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