thun·​der·​head ˈthən-dər-ˌhed How to pronounce thunderhead (audio)
: a rounded mass of cumulus or cumulonimbus cloud often appearing before a thunderstorm

Examples of thunderhead in a Sentence

A thunderhead was forming to the west.
Recent Examples on the Web Shrouded in the black thunderheads the distant lightning glowed mutely like welding seen through foundry smoke. John Williams, Washington Post, 14 June 2023 There are thunderheads of salad greens, plenty of sweet potatoes, and colorful squash blossoms. Nick Rallo, Dallas News, 12 June 2023 Then Foltz, Jenkins and a crew of NOAA scientists across the nation will wait patiently — watching the skies, monitoring the Atlantic’s ever-warming temperature and waiting for a line of thunderheads to be hooked and whirled into a perfect storm. Porter Fox, New York Times, 9 May 2023 In it, Smith inserts a small photo of the novelist into the upper-left-hand corner of a scene of thunderheads over the Manhattan skyline. Mark Feeney,, 4 May 2023 Tiny clouds on the distant skyline can slowly grow into towering thunderheads, or a rain squall moving in from the coast directed by the whim of the wind. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Apr. 2023 History is a thunderhead passing over the earth. Jason Brown, The New Yorker, 2 May 2021 Large thunderhead over east side of Valley as seen from Torrey Pines & Lone Mountain. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 19 Aug. 2014 It was acquired by NASA's Terra satellite just as a thunderhead was blossoming east of Vegas. Tom Yulsman, Discover Magazine, 19 Aug. 2014

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'thunderhead.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1843, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of thunderhead was in 1843

Dictionary Entries Near thunderhead

Cite this Entry

“Thunderhead.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


thun·​der·​head -ˌhed How to pronounce thunderhead (audio)
: a large cumulus cloud often appearing before a thunderstorm
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