thun·​der | \ ˈthən-dər How to pronounce thunder (audio) \

Definition of thunder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the sound that follows a flash of lightning and is caused by sudden expansion of the air in the path of the electrical discharge
2 : bang, rumble the thunder of big guns
3 : a loud utterance or threat


thundered; thundering\ ˈthən-​d(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce thundering (audio) \

Definition of thunder (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to produce thunder usually used impersonallyit thundered
b : to give forth a sound that resembles thunder horses thundered down the road
2 : roar, shout

transitive verb

1 : to utter loudly : roar
2 : to strike with a sound likened to thunder

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Other Words from thunder


thunderer \ ˈthən-​dər-​ər How to pronounce thunderer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for thunder

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of thunder in a Sentence

Noun Her dog is afraid of thunder. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed. Suddenly there was a loud clap of thunder. We could hear the rumble of thunder in the distance. the thunder of horses' hooves the distant thunder of cannon fire She accepted the award to a thunder of applause. Verb The sky thundered and the rain poured down. It was raining and thundering all night. Guns thundered in the distance. Horses thundered down the road. Trucks thundered past on the highway. “How dare you come into my house!” he thundered.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Another name for the buck moon is the thunder moon. Fox News, "Get set for July 4 buck moon, partial lunar eclipse: NASA’s top tips for July skywatchers," 3 July 2020 People are advised to avoid flooded roadways while driving and take shelter if thunder or lightning strikes. Tiana Woodard, The Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis weather: Thunderstorms, heavy rainfall expected this weekend," 28 June 2020 Some dogs will panic, pace, drool, and tremble upon hearing the first crack of thunder or pop from a firework. Cathy M. Rosenthal,, "Animals Matter: How to keep your dog and cat calm during 4th of July fireworks," 26 June 2020 More thunder out of China came in 2020 with the coronavirus pandemic. John Bolton, WSJ, "John Bolton: The Scandal of Trump’s China Policy," 17 June 2020 Forks of lightning flashed through the windows, and thunder rumbled overhead. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "Night Shift," 12 June 2020 That night, Washington was also hit by a torrential storm with crackling thunder and lightning that struck the Washington Monument and injured two National Guardsmen stationed near the White House. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "The Secret Project That Led to Black Lives Matter Murals Coast to Coast," 9 June 2020 The horror film starring the Blazers on Sunday strings from the 10:28 mark of the fourth quarter of a quiet Game 7 through a final minute featuring 18,997 people in yellow shirts making thunder at the Staples Center. oregonlive, "Devastating defeat: A look back at Portland Trail Blazers’ Game 7 loss to L.A. Lakers, 20 years later," 4 June 2020 Thirty years of shuttle launches turned rocket thunder into a common refrain over Cape Canaveral. Bill Ingalls, National Geographic, "SpaceX launches new era of spaceflight with company's first crewed mission," 30 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Fairfax County Public Schools published the data on its website in early June, just as the protests over the killing of George Floyd were beginning to thunder throughout America. Washington Post, "At a top magnet school with few black or Latinx students, a push for change meets resistance," 2 July 2020 Those high ridges see nearly 15 feet of rainfall each year, all of which thunders more than 3,500 feet to the sea in less than six miles. T. Edward Nickens, Field & Stream, "A Puerto Rican Fishing Road Trip for Silver Kings, Bigmouths, Mullet, and More," 27 May 2020 Horns thundered with cumbia music at Las Lomas Irving Banquet Halls during a quinceañera show on Sunday, March 15. Carmina Tiscareño, Dallas News, "Quinceañera exhibition in Irving and other North Texas events suffer during coronavirus outbreak," 20 Mar. 2020 Sergei Romanov, a cleric in the industrial city of Yekaterinburg, also weighed in, thundering against restrictions on public gatherings, including church services, as part of a satanic plot aided by Jews. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "A ‘Breakdown of Trust’: Pandemic Corrodes Church-State Ties in Russia," 5 May 2020 Created by Jordan Mechner a couple of years earlier in 1989 for the Apple II, the MS-DOS port of PoP came thundering onto shelves near the end of 1990, just as the Apple II platform was gasping its last breath as a viable gaming platform. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "War Stories: How Prince of Persia slew the Apple II’s memory limitations," 30 Apr. 2020 But the beach is now tranquil and the tide pools reflect a more cobalt sky, noticeably lacking the contrails of aircraft thundering toward the achingly empty Logan airport. William Sargent, The Christian Science Monitor, "Of plovers and pandemics: Reflections on resilience from Sandy Point," 28 Apr. 2020 Just north is Shark Hole, where today there are massive waves thundering over the coral reefs, flooding the beach. Sarah Firshein, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Road Trip Through Barbados Shows Off the Island's Wilder Side," 17 Nov. 2019 Scales thunders in a video of the Easter service posted on Facebook. Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times, "Do coronavirus social distancing orders violate religious freedom? Local pastors say yes," 15 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thunder.' 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 thunder


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for thunder


Middle English thoner, thunder, from Old English thunor; akin to Old High German thonar thunder, Latin tonare to thunder

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Time Traveler for thunder

Time Traveler

The first known use of thunder was before the 12th century

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Statistics for thunder

Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thunder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for thunder


How to pronounce thunder (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of thunder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the very loud sound that comes from the sky during a storm : the sound that follows a flash of lightning
: a loud noise that sounds like thunder



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

: to produce thunder
: to make a loud sound like the sound of thunder
: to move in a way that makes a very loud sound


thun·​der | \ ˈthən-dər How to pronounce thunder (audio) \

Kids Definition of thunder

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the loud sound that follows a flash of lightning
2 : a loud noise the thunder of drums


thundered; thundering

Kids Definition of thunder (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to produce thunder
2 : to make a loud sound
3 : roar entry 1 sense 1, shout The audience thundered its approval.

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