of, relating to, or accompanied by thunder.
producing a noise or effect like thunder.
very great; extraordinary: a thundering amount of work.


Origin of thundering

before 1100; Middle English thundring, Old English thunring thunder. See thunder, -ing2, -ing1
Related formsthun·der·ing·ly, adverbun·thun·der·ing, adjective




a loud, explosive, resounding noise produced by the explosive expansion of air heated by a lightning discharge.
any loud, resounding noise: the thunder of applause.
a threatening or startling utterance, denunciation, or the like.

verb (used without object)

to give forth thunder (often used impersonally with it as the subject): It thundered last night.
to make a loud, resounding noise like thunder: The artillery thundered in the hills.
to utter loud or vehement denunciations, threats, or the like.
to speak in a very loud tone.
to move or go with a loud noise or violent action: The train thundered through the village.

verb (used with object)

to strike, drive, inflict, give forth, etc., with loud noise or violent action.


    steal someone's thunder,
    1. to use for one's own purposes and without the knowledge or permission of the originator the inventions or ideas of another.
    2. to ruin or detract from the effect of a performance, remark, etc., by anticipating it.

Origin of thunder

before 900; (noun) Middle English thonder, thunder, Old English thunor; cognate with Dutch donder, German Donner; Old Norse thōrr Thor, literally, thunder; (v.) Middle English thondren, Old English thunrian, derivative of the v.; akin to Latin tonāre to thunder
Related formsthun·der·er, nounthun·der·less, adjectiveout·thun·der, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for thundering

Contemporary Examples of thundering

  • The beasts are huge, hulking, fast and unpredictable—tons of muscle, horn and thundering hooves.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Chicago’s Running of the Bulls

    Hampton Stevens

    July 26, 2014

  • John McCain voted for federal funding in 2007, thundering about thousands of frozen embryos.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Bush's Deadly Blunder

    Jeffrey Hart

    November 26, 2008

Historical Examples of thundering

  • Here the conversation was interrupted by a thundering knock at the door.

  • What's anybody's motive, who figures in this thundering dime-novel?

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Even as he stormed the ticket-grating, the train was thundering in at the platform.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Her mother gave one snort, and away she went, thundering after her.

  • Thundering to the harbor, the Cunarder now moved slowly out.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

British Dictionary definitions for thundering



(prenominal) slang very great or excessivea thundering idiot
Derived Formsthunderingly, adverb



a loud cracking or deep rumbling noise caused by the rapid expansion of atmospheric gases which are suddenly heated by lightning
any loud booming sound
rare a violent threat or denunciation
steal someone's thunder to detract from the attention due to another by forestalling him or her


to make (a loud sound) or utter (words) in a manner suggesting thunder
(intr; with it as subject) to be the case that thunder is being heard
(intr) to move fast and heavilythe bus thundered downhill
(intr) to utter vehement threats or denunciation; rail
Derived Formsthunderer, nounthundery, adjective

Word Origin for thunder

Old English thunor; related to Old Saxon thunar, Old High German donar, Old Norse thōrr; see Thor, Thursday
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 thundering



Old English þunor, from Proto-Germanic *thunraz (cf. Old Norse þorr, Old Frisian thuner, Middle Dutch donre, Dutch donder, Old High German donar, German Donner "thunder"), from PIE *(s)tene- "to resound, thunder" (cf. Sanskrit tanayitnuh "thundering," Persian tundar "thunder," Latin tonare "to thunder"). Swedish tordön is literally "Thor's din." The intrusive -d- is also found in Dutch and Icelandic versions of the word.



Old English þunrian, from the source of thunder (n.). Figurative sense of "to speak loudly, threateningly, bombastically" is recorded from mid-14c. Related: Thundered; thundering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

thundering in Science



The explosive noise that accompanies a stroke of lightning. Thunder is a series of sound waves produced by the rapid expansion of the air through which the lightning passes. Sound travels about 1 km in 3 seconds (about 1 mi in 5 seconds). The distance between an observer and a lightning flash can be calculated by counting the number of seconds between the flash and the thunder. See Note at lightning.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

thundering in Culture


The noise created when air rushes back into a region from which it has been expelled by the passage of lightning.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with thundering


see under steal someone's thunder.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.