What does thunder mean?

Definitions for thunder
ˈθʌn dərthun·der

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. boom, roar, roaring, thundernoun

    a deep prolonged loud noise

  2. thundernoun

    a booming or crashing noise caused by air expanding along the path of a bolt of lightning

  3. big H, hell dust, nose drops, smack, thunder, skag, scagverb

    street names for heroin

  4. thunderverb

    move fast, noisily, and heavily

    "The bus thundered down the road"

  5. thunder, roarverb

    utter words loudly and forcefully

    "`Get out of here,' he roared"

  6. thunder, boomverb

    be the case that thunder is being heard

    "Whenever it thunders, my dog crawls under the bed"

  7. thunderverb

    to make or produce a loud noise

    "The river thundered below"; "The engine roared as the driver pushed the car to full throttle"


  1. thundernoun

    The sound caused by the discharge of atmospheric electrical charge.

    Thunder is preceded by lightning.

  2. thundernoun

    A sound resembling thunder.

  3. thundernoun

    A deep, rumbling noise.

    Off in the distance, he heard the thunder of hoofbeats, signalling a stampede.

  4. thunderverb

    To make a noise like thunder.

  5. thunderverb

    To talk with a loud, threatening voice.

    "Get back to work at once!", he thundered.

  6. thunderverb

    To say (something) with a loud, threatening voice.

  7. thunderverb

    To produce something with incredible power

  8. Etymology: From þunor, from þunraz, from *þen, from (s)ten(ə)-. Compare Persian (tondar).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. THUNDERnoun

    Thunder is a most bright flame rising on a sudden, moving with great violence, and with a very rapid velocity, through the air, according to any determination, upwards from the earth, horizontally, obliquely, downwards, in a right line, or in several right lines, as it were in serpentine tracts, joined at various angles, and commonly ending with a loud noise or rattling. Peter van Musschenbroek

    Etymology: ðunder, ðunor , Saxon; dunder, Swedish; dender, Dutch; tonnere, Fr.

    I do not bid the thunder bearer shoot,
    Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove. William Shakespeare.

    No more, thou thunder master, shew
    Thy spite on mortal flies. William Shakespeare, Cymbeline.

    The revenging gods
    ’Gainst parricides all the thunder bend. William Shakespeare.

    The thunder
    Wing’d with red light’ning and impetuous rage,
    Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
    To bellow through the vast and boundless deep. John Milton.

    So fierce he laid about him, and dealt blows
    On either side, that neither mail could hold
    Ne shield defend the thunder of his throws. Edmund Spenser.

    Here will we face this storm of insolence,
    Nor fear the noisy thunder; let it roll,
    Then burst, and spend at once its idle rage. Nicholas Rowe.

  2. To Thunderverb

    Oracles severe,
    Were daily thunder’d in our general’s ear,
    That by his daughter’s blood we must appease
    Diana’s kindled wrath. Dryden.

    An archdeacon, as being a prelate, may thunder out an ecclesiastical censure. John Ayliffe.

  3. To Thunderverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    His nature is too noble for the world:
    He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
    Nor Jove for’s power to thunder. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    So soon as some few notable examples had thundered a duty into the subjects hearts, he soon shewed no baseness of suspicion. Philip Sidney, b. ii.

    His dreadful name late through all Spain did thunder,
    And Hercules’ two pillars standing near,
    Did make to quake and fear. Edmund Spenser.

    His dreadful voice no more
    Would thunder in my ears. John Milton.

    Like a black sheet the whelming billow spread,
    Burst o’er the float, and thunder’d on his head. Alexander Pope.


  1. Thunder

    Thunder is the sound caused by lightning. Depending upon the distance from and nature of the lightning, it can range from a long, low rumble to a sudden, loud crack. The sudden increase in temperature and hence pressure caused by the lightning produces rapid expansion of the air in the path of a lightning bolt. In turn, this expansion of air creates a sonic shock wave, often referred to as a "thunderclap" or "peal of thunder". The scientific study of thunder is known as brontology and the irrational fear (phobia) of thunder is called brontophobia.


  1. thunder

    Thunder is the loud, explosive sound that is produced as a result of the rapid expansion and contraction of air surrounding a lightning bolt. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs during thunderstorms and is often characterized by a deep rumbling or crashing noise.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Thundernoun

    the sound which follows a flash of lightning; the report of a discharge of atmospheric electricity

  2. Thundernoun

    the discharge of electricity; a thunderbolt

  3. Thundernoun

    any loud noise; as, the thunder of cannon

  4. Thundernoun

    an alarming or statrling threat or denunciation

  5. Thundernoun

    to produce thunder; to sound, rattle, or roar, as a discharge of atmospheric electricity; -- often used impersonally; as, it thundered continuously

  6. Thundernoun

    fig.: To make a loud noise; esp. a heavy sound, of some continuance

  7. Thundernoun

    to utter violent denunciation

  8. Thunderverb

    to emit with noise and terror; to utter vehemently; to publish, as a threat or denunciation


  1. Thunder

    Thunder is the sound caused by lightning. Depending on the distance and nature of the lightning, thunder can range from a sharp, loud crack to a long, low rumble. The sudden increase in pressure and temperature from lightning produces rapid expansion of the air surrounding and within a bolt of lightning. In turn, this expansion of air creates a sonic shock wave, similar to a sonic boom, which produces the sound of thunder, often referred to as a clap, crack, or peal of thunder. The distance of the lightning can be calculated by the listener based on the time interval from when the lightning is seen to when the sound is heard.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Thunder

    thun′dėr, n. the deep rumbling sound after a flash of lightning, a thunderbolt: any loud noise: an alarming denunciation.—v.i. to make thunder: to sound as thunder.—v.t. to give out with noise and terror: to publish a denunciation.—ns. Thun′derbolt, a bolt or shaft of lightning preceding a peal of thunder: anything sudden and irresistible: a daring or irresistible hero: ecclesiastical denunciation; Thun′der-clap, a sudden peal of thunder: the report of an explosion of electricity in the clouds; Thun′der-cloud, a cloud charged with electricity, which generally produces lightning and thunder; Thun′derer; Thun′dering, the report of a discharge of electricity in the clouds: thunder.—adj. unusually big, tremendous.—adv. Thun′deringly.—adjs. Thun′derless, without thunder; Thun′der-like (Shak.), like thunder, as a loud noise; Thun′derous, giving forth a sound like thunder, awful.—adv. Thun′derously.—ns. Thun′der-peal, a clap of thunder; Thun′der-plump, a heavy fall of rain in a thunder-storm; Thun′der-shower, a shower accompanied with thunder, or a short heavy shower from a thunder-cloud; Thun′der-stone (Shak.), a stone fabulously supposed to be hurled by thunder, and to do the damage of lightning, a thunderbolt: (geol.) a belemnite, so called from its dart-like shape; Thun′der-storm, continued discharges of electricity from the clouds, producing lightning and thunder, and generally accompanied with heavy rain.—v.t. Thun′der-strike, to strike as by lightning.—n. Thun′der-stroke (Shak.), a stroke or blast by lightning.—adjs. Thun′der-struck, struck by lightning: astonished: struck dumb; Thun′dery, indicative of thunder, or attended by it. [With intrusive d from A.S. þunorþunian, to rattle; cog. with Ger. donner, Ice. þorr for þonr, L. tonāre.]

The Standard Electrical Dictionary

  1. Thunder

    The violent report which, as we hear it, succeeds the lightning flash in stormy weather. It is really produced simultaneously with the lightning and is supposed to arise from disturbance of the air by the discharge. The rolling noise has been attributed to successive reflections between clouds and earth, and to series of discharges reaching the ear from different distances and through air of varying density. The subject is obscure. By timing the interval from lightning flash to the report of the thunder an approximate estimate of the distance of the seat of discharge can be made. The first sound of the thunder should be timed. An almost concurrence of thunder and lightning indicates immediate proximity of the discharge. [Transcriber's note: The speed of sound at sea level is about 5 seconds per mile.]

Suggested Resources

  1. thunder

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

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Thunder is ranked #42378 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Thunder surname appeared 512 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Thunder.

    56.8% or 291 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    31.6% or 162 total occurrences were White.
    5.8% or 30 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    3.3% or 17 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce thunder?

How to say thunder in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of thunder in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of thunder in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of thunder in a Sentence

  1. Eubie:

    Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind - listen to the birds. And don't hate nobody.

  2. Meteorologist Jordan Dale:

    It was not thunder or lightning or weather-related.

  3. Frederick Douglass:

    For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

  4. Ja Morant:

    Starting out early, I feel like we didn't come out ready to play, we allowed them to get comfortable, which led them to get a big lead, but everybody knows the The Memphis Grizzlies, The Memphis Grizzlies : Lakers blows 26-point lead in loss to Thunder.

  5. Charles Krauthammer:

    He’s always been able to steal the thunder of whatever story’s coming out of the debate.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for thunder

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for thunder »


Find a translation for the thunder definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"thunder." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/thunder>.

Discuss these thunder definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for thunder? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    an unfortunate mishap; especially one causing damage or injury
    A disguise
    B accident
    C aspiration
    D tranquillity

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for thunder: