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See more synonyms for cloudburst on Thesaurus.com
  1. a sudden and very heavy rainfall.
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Origin of cloudburst

An Americanism dating back to 1810–20; cloud + burst
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

storm, deluge, downpour, torrent

Examples from the Web for cloudburst

Historical Examples

  • Once black clouds gathered in the distance, to pour out a cloudburst.

    Space Prison

    Tom Godwin

  • "The cloudburst was too much for the dam," he answered regretfully.

    The Thing from the Lake

    Eleanor M. Ingram

  • To have called at Brompton Square would have been asking for a cloudburst.

  • It looked as if we would have a cloudburst that fearful morning.

    True Bear Stories

    Joaquin Miller

  • There had been a cloudburst on a distant mountain and the stream was yellow and turbid.

British Dictionary definitions for cloudburst


  1. a heavy downpour
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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

Word Origin and History for cloudburst


also cloud-burst, 1817, American English, from cloud (n.) + burst (n.). Parallels German Wolkenbruch.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper