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

Play was halted in the 13th minute due to lightning in the area and didn’t resume for nearly two hours. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando Pride falls 3-1 to host Houston Dash," 12 July 2018 This is lightning in a bottle: the Beatles and Beatlemania at their apogee, with all the requisite screaming, racing and mop-top clowning. Jordan Hoffman, New York Times, "Where to Stream the Best, and the Most Ridiculous, of the Beatles on Film," 9 July 2018 One lightning strike later, and a Jim Beam warehouse went up in flames, taking 800,000 gallons of bourbon with it. Sarah Riley And Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "From 'bourbonado' to big spills: Kentucky's historic bourbon disasters," 22 June 2018 Wildland fires dot the Arctic landscape this week after lightning strikes sparked a series of blazes on the dry tundra. Anchorage Daily News, "Dozens of wildland fires reported across Alaska’s Arctic," 17 June 2018 Another safety feature at the pool are its ion testers which alert officials if there’s danger of a lightning strike. Frank Vaisvilas, Daily Southtown, "Southland's public pools hope heat brings crowds of swimmers," 15 June 2018 The main sources of ignition before humans appeared were lightning strikes. Andrew C. Scott, Time, "When Did Humans Discover Fire? The Answer Depends on What You Mean By 'Discover'," 1 June 2018 The astronauts are circling the earth in an ailing spacecraft, but have plenty of composure to puzzle through why a lightning strike would cause the fuel cells to register a power drain: Bean: That must have been what done it. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Forgotten True Story of Alan Bean's Unlikely Journey to the Moon," 29 May 2018 The lightning strikes knocked many of the sensors and instruments inside the Apollo Command Module offline, and the spacecraft began transmitting nonsensical telemetry data to the ground. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Alan Bean, the fourth human to walk on the Moon, has died," 26 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

10 Nov 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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