- lightning appearing merely as a general illumination over a broad area, usually because the path of the flash is obscured by clouds.
Origin of sheet lightning
First recorded in 1820–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for sheet lightning
Sheet-lightning flickers above the mountain crests, painting everything white for an instant.'Midst the Wild Carpathians
It had become very dark; suddenly a blaze of sheet-lightning illumed the room.Lavengro
This, with great volumes of sheet-lightning, enabled us at times to see the whole country.Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa
The experience of almost every one will testify to the effects of sheet-lightning silently illuminating the sky by night.Insomnia; and Other Disorders of Sleep
Henry M. Lyman
Suddenly a broad wavering gleam of sheet-lightning lit up the whole brae.Pharais and The Mountain Lovers
- lightning that appears as a broad sheet, caused by the reflection 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
- A broad, sheetlike illumination of a portion of a thundercloud, caused by an unseen, often internal or reflected lightning flash. See also heat lightning. See more at lightning.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.