thun·der·bolt | \ˈthən-dər-ˌbōlt \

Definition of thunderbolt 

1a : a single discharge of lightning with the accompanying thunder

b : an imaginary elongated mass cast as a missile to earth in the lightning flash

2a : a person or thing that resembles lightning in suddenness, effectiveness, or destructive power

b : a vehement threat or censure

Examples of thunderbolt in a Sentence

He was struck dead by a thunderbolt.

Recent Examples on the Web

The crowns of the title — there are five — look like antique versions of astronaut headgear: gilded copper helmets, each studded with gems, encrusted with repoussé plaques, and topped by five-pronged antennas — the vajra or thunderbolt of wisdom. New York Times, "The Art of Staying Cool: 10 Can’t-Miss Summer Shows in New York," 4 July 2018 Japan doubled their lead on 52 minutes when Inui unleashed a thunderbolt shot off his right boot which flew past the despairing Courtois. Ryland James,, "Chadli fires Belgium into World Cup's last eight," 2 July 2018 Peña brought down the ball on his chest from around 20 yards out before unleashing a thunderbolt into the top corner, leaving Jan Oblak with practically no chance., "WATCH: Fernando Torres Bids Atletico Madrid Farewell With Brace," 20 May 2018 His pace had already won the penalty kick that Antoine Griezmann converted in the first half, before Angel De Maria’s thunderbolt levelled the scores. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Messi comes up short again, new star arises as France eliminates Argentina at World Cup," 30 June 2018 After falling a goal behind to Pedro Obiang's thunderbolt, Son rescued a point for Spurs with a terrific strike of his own, silencing the previously joyous Hammers fans., "Tottenham's Son Says West Ham Fans 'Know' Why He Shushed Them After Scoring on Thursday," 5 Jan. 2018 The imagery originated with ancient Greek and Roman depictions of Jupiter’s and Zeus’s thunderbolts, Dr. Horváth said. Steph Yin, New York Times, "Do You Know What Lightning Really Looks Like?," 11 June 2018 Rashford was at the heart of every England attack during his time on the pitch at Elland Road, and opened the scoring with a thunderbolt from outside the box., "Newcastle Ready to Move for Man Utd's England International If He's Put on Loan by Jose Mourinho," 10 June 2018 Having won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, Bob Baffert’s latest thunderbolt will attempt to sweep the 3-year-old classics in the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Even a Triple Crown won't end the problems facing horse racing," 6 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for thunderbolt

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for thunderbolt

The first known use of thunderbolt was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for thunderbolt



English Language Learners Definition of thunderbolt

: a flash of lightning that makes a loud sound of thunder and that hits someone or something


thun·der·bolt | \ˈthən-dər-ˌbōlt \

Kids Definition of thunderbolt

: a flash of lightning and the thunder that follows it

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