- a brilliant electric spark discharge in the atmosphere, occurring within a thundercloud, between clouds, or between a cloud and the ground.
- to emit a flash or flashes of lightning (often used impersonally with it as subject): If it starts to lightning, we'd better go inside.
- of, relating to, or resembling lightning, especially in regard to speed of movement: lightning flashes; lightning speed.
Origin of lightning
Examples from the Web for lightninged
Historical Examples of lightninged
While we were weighing it a storm arose and it rained and thundered and lightninged throughout the day and nearly all night.William Clayton's Journal
That night it thundered and lightninged, and Antha nearly went into hysterics.The Campfire Girls on Ellen's Isle
Hildegard G. Frey
When it thundered and lightninged that old hoss started to dance—thought twas a battle.
It thundered and lightninged incessantly, so that his ears rang and his eyes were blinded.The Chinese Fairy Book
- a flash of light in the sky, occurring during a thunderstorm and caused by a discharge of electricity, either between clouds or between a cloud and the earthRelated adjectives: fulgurous, fulminous
- (modifier) fast and suddena lightning raid
Word Origin for lightning
late 13c., present participle of lightnen "make bright," extended form of Old English lihting, from leht (see light (n.)). Meaning "cheap, raw whiskey" is attested from 1781, also sometimes "gin." Lightning bug is attested from 1778. Lightning rod from 1790.
- A flash of light in the sky caused by an electrical discharge between clouds or between a cloud and the Earth's surface. The flash heats the air and usually causes thunder. Lightning may appear as a jagged streak, as a bright sheet, or in rare cases, as a glowing red ball.
A Closer Look: As storm clouds develop, the temperature at the top of the cloud becomes much cooler than that at the bottom. For reasons that scientists still do not understand, this temperature difference results in the accumulation of negatively charged particles near the base and positively charged particles near the top of the storm cloud. The negatively charged particles repel the electrons of atoms in nearby objects, such as the bases of other storm clouds or tall objects on the ground. Consequently, these nearby objects take on a positive charge. The difference in charge, or voltage, builds until an electric current starts to flow between the objects along a pathway of charged atoms in the air. The current flow heats up the air to such a degree that it glows, generating lightning. Initially, a bolt of lightning carrying a negative charge darts from one storm cloud to another or from a storm cloud to the ground, leaving the bottom of the cloud with a positive charge. In response, a second bolt (reverse lightning) shoots in the opposite direction (from the other storm cloud or the ground) as the mass of negative charges on it moves back to neutralize the positive charge on the bottom of the first cloud. The heat generated by the lightning causes the air to expand, in turn creating very large sound waves, or thunder.
In addition to the idiom beginning with lightning
- lightning never strikes twice in the same place
- like greased lightning
- quick as a wink (lightning)