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 Bad weather marked the arrival day, complete with thunder, lightning and intense wind gusts. Eric Larsen, USA TODAY, "Last survivor of Hindenburg crash dies at age 90," 17 Nov. 2019 The Spaniard was a magician in a floating role behind the forwards, providing a thoughtfulness to Real's blood and thunder, hit-hard philosophy, and his footwork and vision was matched only by the cream of the crop in Spain., "5 Possible Destinations for Isco as Real Madrid Career Continues to Stagnate," 23 Oct. 2019 Two rounds of showers/thunder today, one this morning and a second this afternoon/evening. Martin Finucane,, "Severe thunderstorms bring rain, wind; possible funnel cloud spotted," 21 Aug. 2019 Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, last properly featured in 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, will return in 2021’s Thor: Love and Thunder, and will have the thunder god’s powers. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Thor 4: Natalie Portman will play Thor! Wow! Wait. What?," 23 July 2019 His Evenki guides believed the blast had been a punishment from their god of thunder, Agda. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New research on Tunguska finds such events happen less often than we thought," 17 July 2019 Shelton then stole her thunder (literally) by hitting his steal button. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "'The Voice': Blake Shelton made everyone cry with his sweet words about 'magical' singer," 8 Oct. 2019 The Chelsea striker then had her thunder well and truly stolen by Fara Williams., "6 Things You Can Expect to See During the Remainder of the 2019/20 WSL Season," 21 Sep. 2019 In the first, Greg (Colin Hanks) tries to steal Matt’s (Thomas Sadoski) thunder during a family trip to the Bahamas. Ed Stockly,, "What’s on TV Thursday: The season finale of ‘Life in Pieces’ on CBS," 26 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bosma held Republicans together despite thundering chants of opposition in the building and public marches through the streets Downtown. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "House Speaker Brian Bosma to retire after 34 years," 19 Nov. 2019 And so teenage Tale created his first truly profitable line of work, selling lottery tickets hyped by worthless prizes to congregations that otherwise thundered about the perils of gambling. Jack Hitt, Washington Post, "P.T. Barnum, the showman and grifter who held up a funhouse mirror to America," 18 Oct. 2019 Marseillaise’ thunders through from Paris, and the German national anthem from Berlin. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, "Local TV Revives a Bygone Tradition: Airing the National Anthem," 24 Oct. 2019 How did sauropod dinosaurs, the biggest creatures ever to have thundered across Earth, bulk up to the weight of more than 10 African bull elephants on a spartan diet of prehistoric greens? John Pickrell, Science | AAAS, "Sauropods grew big by munching ‘superfoods’ with sturdy beaks," 17 Oct. 2019 An apartment near Massachusetts General Hospital seemed promising enough, until, during a brief peek into the bedroom, a Red Line train thundered by the window. Dugan Arnett,, "Soul-crushing. Demoralizing. My tortured odyssey to find an apartment in Boston," 30 Aug. 2019 Not to be confused with most valuable player, which is still thundering defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Andy Benoit,, "DeSean Jackson Adds Value to the Eagles' Downfield Passing Attack," 15 Aug. 2019 On June 9, 2018, a colt named Justify thundered home to the full-throated cheers of a capacity crowd to win the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes and claim horse racing’s Triple Crown, one of the most storied achievements in sports. Joe Drape,, "Justify won Triple Crown after failing a drug test," 11 Sep. 2019 The set thundered to a close with a volley of fireworks lighting up the beach as the siblings huddled for some hugs. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "Jonas Brothers Rock New Jersey's Stone Pony With 'Sucker,' 'Only Human' at 2019 MTV VMAs: Watch," 26 Aug. 2019

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

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Thunder.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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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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).


very cautious or careful

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