heat lightning


: vivid and extensive flashes of electric light without thunder seen near the horizon especially at the close of a hot day and ascribed to far-off lightning reflected by high clouds

Examples of heat lightning in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the clouds to the west, heat lightning fluttered and laced. David Means, The New Yorker, 14 Oct. 2019 Then, with 1:14 left in the half, heat lightning was sighted and both teams were sent to the locker rooms with Milford leading 34-6. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, 13 Sep. 2019 The afternoon clouds look like mountain ranges, enhancing the lush Irish topography, and later there is heat lightning in the distance, which lights up the horizon like an old projector. Chris Erskine, latimes.com, 22 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heat 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

1810, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of heat lightning was in 1810

Dictionary Entries Near heat lightning

Cite this Entry

“Heat lightning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heat%20lightning. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

heat lightning

: flashes of lightning without thunder seen near the horizon
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