light on

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light (up)on

1. To land or rest upon something. The large black crow lighted on the telephone wire high above the street. As he walked into the room, his eyes lighted upon a gorgeous woman wearing a red dress.
2. To arrive at a thought or idea. The engineer lighted on a mathematical solution to the problem he'd been trying to solve all week.
3. To chance or happen upon; to discover by luck or chance. We'd been lost in the woods for hours. Thankfully, we eventually lit upon a small stream that led us to the lake next to the campground.
See also: light
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

light (up)on someone or something

1. Lit. to land on someone or something; to settle on someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) Three butterflies lit on the baby, causing her to shriek with delight. The bees lit on the clover blossom and pulled it to the ground. Her glance lit upon a dress in the store window.
2. Fig. to arrive at something by chance; to happen upon something. The committee lit upon a solution that pleased almost everyone. We just happened to light upon this idea as we were talking to each other.
See also: light, on
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

light on

Also, light upon. Happen upon, come across, discover. For example, John was delighted to light on a new solution to the problem, or We were following the path when suddenly we lit upon a cave. [Second half of 1400s]
See also: light, on
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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