What does Lightning mean?

Definitions for Lightning
ˈlaɪt nɪŋlight·ning

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Lightning.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. lightningnoun

    abrupt electric discharge from cloud to cloud or from cloud to earth accompanied by the emission of light

  2. lightningnoun

    the flash of light that accompanies an electric discharge in the atmosphere (or something resembling such a flash); can scintillate for a second or more


  1. lightningnoun

    The flash of light caused by the discharge of atmospheric electrical charge.

  2. lightningnoun

    The discharge of atmospheric electrical charge itself.

    That tree was hit by lightning.

  3. lightningnoun

    Anything that moves very fast.

  4. lightningverb

    To produce lightning.

  5. lightningadjective

    Extremely fast or sudden.

  6. lightningadjective

    Moving at the speed of lightning.

  7. Etymology: light(e)n + -ing

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Lightningnoun

    Etymology: from lighten, lightening, lightning.

    Lightning is a great flame, very bright, extending every way to a great distance, suddenly darting upwards, and there ending, so that it is only momentaneous. Peter van Musschenbroek.

    Sense thinks the lightning born before the thunder;
    What tells us then they both together are? Davies.

    Salmoneus, suff’ring cruel pains I found
    For emulating Jove; the rattling sound
    Of mimick thunder, and the glitt’ring blaze
    Of pointed lightnings, and their forky rays. John Dryden, Æn.

    No warning of the approach of flame,
    Swiftly, like sudden death, it came;
    Like travellers by lightning kill’d,
    I burnt the moment I beheld. George Granville.

    How oft when men are at the point of death,
    Have they been merry? which their keepers call
    A lightning before death. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.

    We were once in hopes of his recovery, upon a kind message from the widow; but this only proved a lightning before death. Joseph Addison, Spectator, №. 517.


  1. Lightning

    Lightning is a song by British-Irish boy band The Wanted, taken as the third single from their second studio album, Battleground. It was released on 16 October 2011. The song was written by Steve Mac, Wayne Hector and Ed Drewett, the same team responsible for the band's number-one single, "Glad You Came". The song debuted at number two on the UK Singles Chart, behind Rihanna's "We Found Love". The single was originally intended for release in the United States, following the success of "Glad You Came", and a promotional remix single was issued, however, its release was cancelled.


  1. lightning

    Lightning is a natural atmospheric electrical phenomenon characterized by a sudden electrostatic discharge, typically during a thunderstorm. This discharge occurs between electrically charged regions within a cloud, between two clouds, or between a cloud and the ground, visibly resulting in a bright flash or streak of light often followed by thunder sound.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Lightningnoun

    a discharge of atmospheric electricity, accompanied by a vivid flash of light, commonly from one cloud to another, sometimes from a cloud to the earth. The sound produced by the electricity in passing rapidly through the atmosphere constitutes thunder

  2. Lightningnoun

    the act of making bright, or the state of being made bright; enlightenment; brightening, as of the mental powers

  3. Lightning


  4. Etymology: [For lightening, fr. lighten to flash.]


  1. Lightning

    Lightning is a massive electrostatic discharge between electrically charged regions within clouds, or between a cloud and the Earth's surface. The charged regions within the atmosphere temporarily equalize themselves through a lightning flash, commonly referred to as a strike if it hits an object on the ground. There are three primary types; from a cloud to itself; from one cloud to another cloud and finally between a cloud and the ground. Although lightning is always accompanied by the sound of thunder, distant lightning may be seen but be too far away for the thunder to be heard. Lightning occurs approximately 40–50 times a second worldwide, resulting in nearly 1.4 billion flashes per year. Many factors affect the frequency, distribution, strength, and physical properties of a "typical" lightning flash to a particular region of the world. These factors include ground elevation, latitude, prevailing wind currents, relative humidity, proximity to warm and cold bodies of water, etc. To a certain degree, the ratio between IC, CC and CG lightning may also vary by season in middle latitudes. Because human beings are terrestrial and most of their possessions are on the Earth, where lightning can damage or destroy them, CG lightning is the most studied and best understood of the three types, even though IC and CC are more common. Lightning's relative unpredictability limits a complete explanation of how or why it occurs, even after hundreds of years of scientific investigation. A typical cloud to ground lightning flash culminates in the formation of an electrically conducting plasma channel through the air in excess of 5 km tall, from within the cloud to the ground's surface. The actual discharge is the final stage of a very complex process. A typical thunderstorm has three or more strikes to the Earth per minute at its peak.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Lightning

    An abrupt high-current electric discharge that occurs in the ATMOSPHERE and that has a path length ranging from hundreds of feet to tens of miles. (From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 6th ed)

The Standard Electrical Dictionary

  1. Lightning

    The electrostatic discharge to the earth or among themselves of clouds floating in the atmosphere. The discharge is accompanied by a spark or other luminous effect, which may be very bright and the effects, thermal and mechanical, are often of enormous intensity. The lightning flash is white near the earth, but in the upper regions where the air is rarefied it is of a blue tint, like the spark of the electric machine. The flashes are often over a mile in length, and sometimes are four or five miles long. They have sometimes a curious sinuous and often a branching shape, which has been determined by photography only recently. To the eye the shape seems zigzag. In the case of a mile-long flash it has been estimated that 3,516,480 De la Rue cells, q. v., would be required for the development of the potential, giving the flash over three and one-half millions of volts. But as it is uncertain how far the discharge is helped on its course by the rain drops this estimate may be too high. There are two general types of flash. The so-called zigzag flash resembles the spark of an electric machine, and is undoubtedly due to the disruptive discharge from cloud to earth. Sheet lightning has no shape, simply is a sudden glow, and from examination of the spectrum appears to be brush discharges (see Discharge, Brush) between clouds. Heat lightning is attributed to flashes below the horizon whose light only is seen by us. Globe or ball lightning takes the form of globes of fire, sometimes visible for ten seconds, descending from the clouds. On reaching the earth they sometimes rebound, and sometimes explode with a loud detonation. No adequate explanation has been found for them. The flash does not exceed one-millionth of a second in duration; its absolute light is believed to be comparable to that of the sun, but its brief duration makes its total light far less than that of the sun for any period of time. If the disruptive discharge passes through a living animal it is often fatal. As it reaches the earth it often has power enough to fuse sand, producing fulgurites, q. v. (See also Back Shock or Stroke of Lightning.) Volcanic lightning, which accompanies the eruptions of volcanoes, is attributed to friction of the volcanic dust and to vapor condensation. [Transcriber's note: The origin of lightning is still (2008) not fully understood, but is thought to relate to charge separation in the vertical motion of water droplets and ice crystals in cloud updrafts. A lightning bolt carries a current of 40,000 to 120,000 amperes, and transfers a charge of about five coulombs. Nearby air is heated to about 10,000 °C (18,000 °F), almost twice the temperature of the Sun’s surface.]

Suggested Resources

  1. lightning

    Song lyrics by lightning -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by lightning on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. Lightning

    Lightening vs. Lightning -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Lightening and Lightning.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Lightning is ranked #88685 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Lightning surname appeared 209 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Lightning.

    78.9% or 165 total occurrences were Black.
    8.1% or 17 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    6.7% or 14 total occurrences were White.
    3.3% or 7 total occurrences were of two or more races.

How to pronounce Lightning?

How to say Lightning in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Lightning in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Lightning in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of Lightning in a Sentence

  1. Randall Cerveny:

    But these findings are also important to the general public as a stark reminder that lightning can strike far away from the parent source region.

  2. Baron Coleman:

    There's no circumstance that I think is legitimate that Joe Biden should enter White House, i think White House should burn down and I'm not saying that -- I'm not telling anyone to, but I'm just saying -- I literally believe that a bolt of lightning should hit the White House and light White House on fire before White House's handed over.

  3. Dean Linton:

    There's a lot of fuel in that national park; it would only take one lightning strike.

  4. Chris Scott:

    It is astonishing to see how the ripples caused by man-made explosions can affect the edge of space. Each raid released the energy of at least 300 lightning strikes, the sheer power involved has allowed us to quantify how events on the Earth’s surface can also affect the ionosphere.

  5. Meteorologist Jordan Dale:

    It was not thunder or lightning or weather-related.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Lightning

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"Lightning." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Lightning>.

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    someone who takes the place of another person
    A alternate
    B plush
    C handsome
    D squashy

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