heat lightning

See synonyms for heat lightning on Thesaurus.com
  1. lightning too distant for thunder to be heard, observed as diffuse flashes near the horizon on summer evenings.

Origin of heat lightning

An Americanism dating back to 1825–35

Words Nearby heat lightning

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use heat lightning in a sentence

  • His face had altered; a dim glimmer played in his eyes like the reflection of heat lightning at dusk.

    The Younger Set | Robert W. Chambers
  • The night was pitch dark, except for pulses of heat-lightning, now and then, far to westward.

    Lad: A Dog | Albert Payson Terhune
  • A pale flare of heat-lightning turned the world, momentarily, from jet black to a dim sulphur-color.

    Lad: A Dog | Albert Payson Terhune
  • In the south, too, "heat lightning" played sharply—and almost continuously.

  • The sky quivers and reflects the flash of the great guns, as with the constant vibration of heat lightning.

British Dictionary definitions for heat lightning

heat lightning

  1. 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

  1. 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.