ball lightning

noun

: a rare form of lightning consisting of luminous balls that may move along solid objects or float in the air

Examples of ball lightning in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Scientists, however, remain unable to explain the sightings or even verify that ball lightning exists. Discover Magazine, 29 June 2010 When amplified, its ball lightning attack pulses three times instead of just once. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 18 Aug. 2022 With all this information at hand, Hughes drew a potential connection between green fireballs—which can be caused by fast-moving meteors—and ball lightning. Sarah Scoles, Scientific American, 15 Aug. 2022 Just like normal lightning, ball lightning seems to occur primarily during thunderstorms. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 5 Feb. 2022 And like Gervase of Canterbury, Gregory of Tours seems to have written about ball lightning. Kiona N. Smith, Forbes, 1 Feb. 2022 Like ball lightning, earthquake lights are relatively rare—captivating but hard for scientists to explain. Christina Nunez, National Geographic, 16 Apr. 2019 One thought is that ball lightning’s victims may continue to exist in a quantum state—like ghosts, in fact, trying to communicate. Tom Shippey, WSJ, 16 Aug. 2018 Instead, Liu focuses less on exploring his characters’ personal issues and more on their obsession with ball lightning. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, 15 Sep. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ball lightning.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1845, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ball lightning was in 1845

Dictionary Entries Near ball lightning

Cite this Entry

“Ball lightning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ball%20lightning. Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

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