lightning

noun
light·ning | \ˈlīt-niŋ \

Definition of lightning 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the flashing of light produced by a discharge of atmospheric electricity also : the discharge itself

2 : a sudden stroke of fortune candidates … hoping for real lightning to strikeTime

lightning

adjective

Definition of lightning (Entry 2 of 3)

: having or moving with or as if with the speed and suddenness of lightning a lightning assault

lightning

verb
lightninged; lightning

Definition of lightning (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to discharge a flash of lightning

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Examples of lightning in a Sentence

Adjective

thoughts moving at lightning speed he made a lightning dash for the goal

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The chance of severe storms increases as the day goes on, which could bring strong winds, heavy downpours and lots of lightning. Zachary Hansen, ajc, "THURSDAY’S WEATHER-TRAFFIC: Storm chances ramp up as cold front approaches," 12 July 2018 The World Cup and his experience with the national team was also a bolt of motivational lightning for Ruidiaz. Luis Miguel Echegaray, SI.com, "A Hungry Raul Ruidiaz Arrives in Seattle With Clear Mission: Score Goals," 9 July 2018 Holiday firework displays were rescheduled after Mother Nature staged her own show Wednesday night in the form of lightning and thunder. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "Fireworks rescheduled in south suburbs after storms," 5 July 2018 Each charge region initiates different types of lightning – and the results can be truly shocking. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "Bolts from the blue: Here’s how lightning can strike when a storm is tens of miles away," 27 June 2018 The season lacks the abrupt violence of summer squalls, full of lightning and waterspouts, but many a March and April morning speaks of wind. Earl Swift, Outside Online, "The Incredible True Story of the Henrietta C.," 20 June 2018 And frankly, only a few bolts of lightning halted the Raiders’ attack in Monday’s Division 1 state semifinal against Chelmsford. Jake Levin, BostonGlobe.com, "Wellesley storms past Chelmsford in Div. 1 semis," 19 June 2018 The first evidence of lightning on Jupiter was detected nearly 40 years ago. Charles Q. Choi, Scientific American, "Surprise! Jupiter’s Lightning Looks a Lot Like Earth’s," 7 June 2018 The shrill sound of a siren blared long enough Wednesday at Halas Hall for the Bears to clear the practice field quickly, alerting everyone to the presence of lightning. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Quietly, emerging leader Jordan Howard catching onto Bears' new offense," 31 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When not taking measurements, crews on Hurricane Hunters see sights few others do: lightning traveling around the walls of a storm’s eye. Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, "‘God was flying the plane’: Hurricane Hunters land in D.C. during public tour," 9 May 2017 That’s the most since 2007, when lightning killed 45 people. The Denver Post, "Colorado is the third deadliest state for fatal lightning strikes," 8 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lightning.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lightning

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1576, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1903, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lightning

Noun

Middle English, from gerund of lightenen to lighten

Adjective

see lightning entry 1

Verb

see lightning entry 1

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Learn More about lightning

Statistics for lightning

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lightning

The first known use of lightning was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for lightning

lightning

noun

English Language Learners Definition of lightning

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the flashes of light that are produced in the sky during a storm

lightning

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of lightning (Entry 2 of 2)

: moving or done very quickly

lightning

noun
light·ning | \ˈlīt-niŋ \

Kids Definition of lightning

: the flashing of light caused by the passing of electricity from one cloud to another or between a cloud and the earth

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Comments on lightning

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