View definitions for lightning


noun as in electrical discharge

Strong matches

Weak match

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Example Sentences

Outside awarded MountainFlow a Gear of the Show award at last year’s Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, where we look at hundreds of products pitched to us at lightning speed over the course of a few days.

The video captures a thread of electric current, or lightning leader, zipping down from a thundercloud to meet another leader reaching up from the ground.

It took a violent mob of insurrectionists and a lightning bolt moment in this very room.

Scientists have finally gotten a clear view of the spark that sets off a weird type of lightning called a blue jet.

The first is like estimating the distance to a lightning strike by timing the delayed arrival of the thunderclap.

Should lightning strike and Hillary Clinton forgoes a presidential run, Democrats have a nominee in waiting.

Second, Michelle served as a lightning rod in the sense of drawing attacks away from other reform groups.

He made whatever was going on his own, and with such lightning speed you stopped concentrating.

There were flashes of lightning outside and the rumble of thunder.

Improvements in lightning tracking help scientists know where to send aircraft to look for fires.

The left heel followed like lightning, and the right paw also slipped, letting the bear again fall heavily on the ice below.

Spite, however, of punishments and prohibitions the use of tobacco spread with the rapidity of lightning.

Like lightning he turned and seized by the wrist a man who had already opened the bag and laid hold of some of its contents.

His only worry at the time lay in the dark sky above and the blue-white stabs of lightning that promised an electrical storm.

Another lightning flash blinded the girls and the thunder following fairly deafened them for the moment.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is another word for lightning?

A single streak of lightning can be called a lightning bolt or just a bolt. Since thunder and lightning typically go together, this is sometimes called a thunderbolt or even a thunderstroke.

The bright light released is sometimes called a flash of lightning. The instance of lightning hitting something, like the ground or a tower, can be called a lightning strike or a lightning stroke

Thunderstorms are sometimes called lightning storms, especially when they produce a lot of lightning. Another term for this is an electrical storm

Some people use the term heat lightning to refer to distant lightning, typically the far-off kind that lights up the clouds on the horizon without any visible bolts or audible thunder. It’s sometimes called summer lightning. The term sheet lightning can be used to refer to this or to lightning that appears to light up the whole sky, typically due to reflection or being inside a cloud.

A rare form of lightning that appears as a glowing orb is called ball lightning

Technically speaking, lightning is an electrical discharge—inside a cloud, between clouds, or between clouds and the ground. When lightning strikes a cloud or the ground, it can produce a second bolt that travels in the opposite direction, called reverse lightning or a return stroke.

The adjectives fulminous and fulgurous can be used to describe things involving or relating to lightning, but they are quite formal and uncommon.

The word lightning is also commonly used in a figurative way to describe things that are very fast, as in lightning speed.

How do you use lightning in a sentence?

Because literal lightning is so strikingly impressive, it’s commonly used in figurative and metaphorical ways, especially in descriptions involving speed, explosiveness, and sudden impact.

Here are some examples of lightning in a sentence:

  • Did you know that thunder is sound waves generated by the expansion of air resulting from the heat produced by lightning?
  • Her idea was like lightning for our brainstorming session—it electrified us into a creative frenzy. 
  • The cat darted across the room as fast as lightning.

On this page you'll find 5 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to lightning, such as: bolt, fulmination, and firebolt.

From Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.