thun·​der·​bolt | \ ˈthən-dər-ˌbōlt How to pronounce thunderbolt (audio) \

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 Konstantin Vassiljev was the standout performer in the first half with two attempts, and Marco Reus saw his thunderbolt free-kick rattle the frame of Lepmets' goal from 25 yards out., "Estonia 0-3 Germany: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Ilkay Gündogan Brace Seals Victory," 13 Oct. 2019 Brodesser-Akner’s casually brilliant debut reads like a clever featherweight caper, but ends with a true thunderbolt. David Canfield,, "The 10 best books of 2019," 5 Dec. 2019 Just a thunderbolt of a play gives Kansas City the lead., "To refresh this page throughout the afternoon, click here.," 17 July 2019 Last season, Palace famously handed City their first and only home defeat of the domestic campaign as Andros Townsend's thunderbolt inspired the Eagles to a 3-2 win - and earned him the Premier League Goal of the Season award in the process., "Crystal Palace vs Manchester City: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 18 Oct. 2019 Among such myths was the idea that thunderbolts were material objects that fell from the sky. Steph Yin, New York Times, "Do You Know What Lightning Really Looks Like?," 11 June 2018 The Warriors have featured two different bridges, the state of California, an oak tree and a thunderbolt on the front of their jerseys over the years, each with wildly varying levels of nostalgic value. Peter Hartlaub,, "Every jersey in Golden State Warriors history, ranked," 1 Oct. 2019 In other words, the historically low scores this summer were almost guaranteed by the thunderbolts served up by the likes of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad, all of whom have career averages in the mid- or low-20s. M.j., The Economist, "Against expectations, this year’s Ashes were a slow-burning classic," 17 Sep. 2019 In the concert industry, no lightning strike has been as difficult to conjure again as the thunderbolt that landed on a dairy farm filled with a massive herd of shirtless humanity on the weekend of Aug. 15, 1969. James Sullivan,, "There could only be one Woodstock," 15 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for thunderbolt

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

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Statistics for thunderbolt

Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thunderbolt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for thunderbolt


How to pronounce thunderbolt (audio)

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 How to pronounce thunderbolt (audio) \

Kids Definition of thunderbolt

: a flash of lightning and the thunder that follows it

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More from Merriam-Webster on thunderbolt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thunderbolt

Spanish Central: Translation of thunderbolt

Nglish: Translation of thunderbolt for Spanish Speakers

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