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heat lightning

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noun
lightning too distant for thunder to be heard, observed as diffuse flashes near the horizon on summer evenings.
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Origin of heat lightning

An Americanism dating back to 1825–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use heat lightning in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for heat lightning

heat lightning

noun
flashes of light seen near the horizon, esp on hot evenings: reflections 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

Scientific definitions for heat lightning

heat lightning

Intermittent flashes of reddish or orange light near the horizon, usually seen on a hot summer evening and unaccompanied by thunder. Heat lightning is thought to be the reflection of distant lightning on clouds. Its color is believed to be due to the refraction of light in the atmosphere. See also sheet lightning. See more at lightning.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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