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sheet lightning

lightning appearing merely as a general illumination over a broad area, usually because the path of the flash is obscured by clouds.
Origin of sheet lightning
First recorded in 1820-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sheet lightning
Historical Examples
  • Flashes of sheet lightning frequently illumined the black sky, and flung a momentary glare over our path.

    The Bible in Spain George Borrow
  • Like sheet lightning they are beautiful but never strike anything.

    The Vitalized School Francis B. Pearson
  • There was a bon mot, which blazed with all the soft brilliancy of sheet lightning.

    The Young Duke Benjamin Disraeli
  • Ye flame putteth me in mind of sheet lightning on a small—how very small—scale.

    Pioneers of Science Oliver Lodge
  • His eyes flashed on her like sheet lightning, as he clinched them in his hand.

    Dainty's Cruel Rivals Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
  • sheet lightning spreads over a great surface and is of various colours.

    The Woodcraft Girls at Camp Lillian Elizabeth Roy
  • sheet lightning presents the appearance of a diffuse glow over the sky.

    Meteorology Charles Fitzhugh Talman
  • Most sheet lightning is probably a mere reflection of ordinary streak lightning below the horizon or hidden by clouds.

    Meteorology Charles Fitzhugh Talman
  • Away to the south the sheet lightning was like the flashing of an enormous lantern hidden under the horizon.

    Chance Joseph Conrad
  • Weird was the hectic flushing, the glow of the sheet lightning among the July and August cumuli.

    The Pioneer Trail Alfred Lambourne
British Dictionary definitions for sheet lightning

sheet lightning

lightning that appears as a broad sheet, caused by the reflection of more distant lightning
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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sheet lightning in Science
sheet lightning
A broad, sheetlike illumination of a portion of a thundercloud, caused by an unseen, often internal or reflected lightning flash. See also heat lightning, See more at lightning.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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