- IPA(key): /ˈlaɪt.nɪŋ/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈlaɪt.nɪŋ/, [ˈlʌɪ̯ʔ.nɪŋ], [ˈlɐɪ̯ʔ.nɪŋ]
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- A flash of light produced by short-duration, high-voltage discharge of electricity within a cloud, between clouds, or between a cloud and the earth.
- Although we did not see the lightning, we did hear the thunder.
- 1901, E. L. Morris, The Child's Eden, page 16:
- It was the thought of hot July and August days, when the clouds piled up like woolly mountains, and lightnings streaked the sky.
- A discharge of this kind.
- The lightning was hot enough to melt the sand.
- That tree was hit by lightning.
- 1881, Daniel Pierce Thompson, The Green Mountain Boys, page 281:
- The rain at length ceased; and the lightnings, as they played along the black parapet of clouds, that lay piled in the east, shone with less dazzling fierceness, […]
- (figurative) Anything that moves very fast.
- The act of making bright, or the state of being made bright; enlightenment; brightening, as of the mental powers.
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for lightning in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)
- 2008, Kathy Clark, Stand By Your Man, page 280:
- Manny drove a few miles per hour under the speed limit, entranced by the awesome display of lightning streaking out of the clouds toward earth.
- ball lightning
- forked lightning
- fork lightning
- greased lightning
- Jewish lightning
- lightning bolt
- lightning bug
- lightning conductor
- lightning detector
- lightning in a bottle
- lightning mapper
- lightning never strikes twice in the same place
- lightning rod
- lightning strike
- sheet lightning
- upward lightning
lightning (not comparable)
- (impersonal, childish or nonstandard, intransitive) To produce lightning.
- 1916, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Understood Betsy:
- Or if it thundered and lightninged, Aunt Frances always dropped everything she might be doing and held Elizabeth Ann tightly in her arms until it was all over.
- 1968, Dan Greenburg, Chewsday: a sex novel:
- The next day, though it is not only raining but thundering and lightninging as well, antiquing is seen by three-fourths of those present as a lesser evil than free play.
- 1987, Tricia Springstubb, Eunice Gottlieb and the unwhitewashed truth about life:
- "Hey!" yelled Reggie, pulling her back. "Get in here! It's lightninging. I don't want a charcoal-broiled friend!"
- 1988, Carlo Collodi, Roberto Innocenti, The adventures of Pinocchio
- I don't know, Father, but believe me, it has been a horrible night — one that I'll never forget. It thundered and lightninged, and I was very hungry.
- The standard, but rare, verb for "produce lightning" is lighten, used only in the impersonal form "it lightens", or as "it’s lightening".