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[thuhn-der-stawrm] /ˈθʌn dərˌstɔrm/
a transient storm of lightning and thunder, usually with rain and gusty winds, sometimes with hail or snow, produced by cumulonimbus clouds.
Also called electrical storm.
Origin of thunderstorm
First recorded in 1645-55; thunder + storm Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for thunderstorm
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Often, during a thunderstorm a tree had been hit by lightning.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • At dawn the Cyclops woke, and his awakening was like a thunderstorm.

    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew Josephine Preston Peabody
  • I thought it was a thunderstorm, Dering told me he heard nothing.'

    Echoes of the War J. M. Barrie
  • "I think there is going to be a thunderstorm," said Dorothy.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • Mosquitoes, it seemed to me, were never so numerous or vicious as after this thunderstorm.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
  • It was one of those mornings in summer which portend a thunderstorm and great heat.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • It was a peaceful night after the thunderstorm of the evening before.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • A thunderstorm may alarm a Mozart into existence, and why not a second Chopin?

    Melomaniacs James Huneker
British Dictionary definitions for thunderstorm


a storm caused by strong rising air currents and characterized by thunder and lightning and usually heavy rain or hail
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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Word Origin and History for thunderstorm

1650s, from thunder (n.) + storm (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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thunderstorm in Science
A storm of heavy rain accompanied by lightning, thunder, wind, and sometimes hail. Thunderstorms occur when moist air near the ground becomes heated, especially in the summer, and rises, forming cumulonimbus clouds that produce precipitation. Electrical charges accumulate at the bases of the clouds until lightning is discharged. Air in the path of the lightning expands as a result of being heated, causing thunder. Thunderstorms can also be caused by temperature changes triggered by volcanic eruptions and forest fires, and they occur with much greater frequency at the equatorial regions than in polar regions.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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