thun·der | \ ˈthən-dər \

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 \

Definition of thunder (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to produce thunder usually used impersonally it 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 \ noun

Synonyms for thunder

Synonyms: Verb

bellow, boom, growl, roar

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Examples of thunder in a Sentence


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.


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

Or will Lionel Messi silence the Viking Clap with thunder of his own? Sunday, 8 a.m. (Fox, Telemundo) Mexico has the hype, the United States has the angst, and Costa Rica has the track record. Jonathan Tannenwald,, "2018 World Cup: Previewing everything from Messi and Ronaldo to the best teams and matches," 13 June 2018 Her first-inning moonshot provided the perfect thunder to North Reading pitcher Christina Simblaris’s electrifying shutout. Mike Kotsopoulos,, "North Reading overpowers Arlington Catholic in Division 2 North softball," 11 June 2018 More quietly, Jordan Howard is still around to supply the thunder. David Haugh,, "Quietly, emerging leader Jordan Howard catching onto Bears' new offense," 31 May 2018 Unlike Portland's Jusuf Nurkic, who made the unfortunate mistake of trying to jump and block James' dunk (and was therefore posterized into history), Harris was scattering as James brought the thunder. Chris Fedor,, "LeBron James sparks Cavaliers in first quarter, wakes up Brooklyn crowd with powerful dunk (video)," 25 Mar. 2018 Showers and rumbles of thunder become more and more possible as the day wears on. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Un-muggy heat through tomorrow, but then we turn steamy and wetter into next week," 13 July 2018 Inside a high-security building called 31 Hanger sits Taranis, an aircraft named after the Celtic god of thunder. The Economist, "Tomorrow’s squadron leaders will be accompanied by drones," 5 July 2018 Stay indoors for 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder. Victoria Cheyne, Houston Chronicle, "Tips for preventing lightning-related deaths and injuries this July 4th," 3 July 2018 But half an hour before it was supposed to begin, there was a torrential downpour, complete with thunder and lightning. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "A Look Back at All of Queen Elizabeth's Presidential Meetings," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As Gordon, Allen thunders on stage and creates very nice chemistry with Denise, who is excellent as Gordon’s soft-hearted ex-wife Sarah, and with the other actors. Patti Restivo, Howard County Times, "Laurel Mill Playhouse presents 'Laughing Stock'," 6 July 2018 The Italian and French fleets played a major role in shaping grand strategy, even if their guns rarely thundered. Jonathan W. Jordan, WSJ, "‘World War II at Sea’ Review: A History Written in Water," 18 May 2018 Alu said to thundering applause from a crowded room. Susannah Bryan,, "Sunrise city manager keeps job despite bust-up over Bundt cake," 6 July 2018 The audience sat in awed silence for a full minute before thundering its approval. John Von Rhein,, "Review: Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the CSO in an eloquent Mahler Ninth Symphony," 18 May 2018 But as Marine One thundered into the London sky later that evening, gathered below were several hundred protesters armed with pots, pans, drums, horns, whistles, megaphones and placards daubed with messages of varying profanity. Alexander Smith /, NBC News, "Trump in Britain: President faces dozens of protests across U.K.," 13 July 2018 In fact, those shows’ thundering bass lines have prompted new volume limits. Christopher Reynolds,, "Sitting in the palm of nature: The unique energy — and performances — of Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre," 12 July 2018 In parts of New York, including areas around the Catskill Mountains and mid-Hudson Valley, hail the size of baseballs thundered down, according to the Weather Channel. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "Severe Thunderstorms and High Winds Batter Northeast, Causing Power Outages and Crippling Commutes," 16 May 2018 Sadio Mané thundered the ball into the back of the net from a header in front of goal., "Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City: Anfield Atmosphere Lifts Liverpool to Sensational UCL 1st Leg Victory," 4 Apr. 2018

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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Phrases Related to thunder

a face like thunder

steal someone's thunder

Statistics for thunder

Last Updated

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thunder

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

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More Definitions for thunder



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 \

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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Comments on thunder

What made you want to look up thunder? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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