When you see sudden bright flashes of light in the sky, you're seeing lightning, the release of electricity between clouds or the ground.

Lightning can be scary, and if it strikes a person, it can kill. You can tell how close the lightning is by how long the delay is between the light and the sound of the rolling roar or crack of thunder that accompanies it. If they're close together, get inside, quick! Because lighting strikes so fast, we use its name for other speedy things, like the lightning-fast service at a good coffee shop.

Definitions of lightning
  1. noun
    the flash of light that accompanies an electric discharge in the atmosphere (or something resembling such a flash); can scintillate for a second or more
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    heat lightning
    bright flashes of light near the horizon without thunder (especially on hot evenings); usually attributed to distant lightning that is reflected by clouds
    sheet lighting
    lightning that appears as a broad sheet; due to reflections of more distant lightning and to diffusion by the clouds
    type of:
    a sudden intense burst of radiant energy
  2. noun
    abrupt electric discharge from cloud to cloud or from cloud to earth accompanied by the emission of light
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    chain lightning, forked lightning
    a form of lightning that moves rapidly in a zigzag path with one end divided (fork-like)
    bolt, bolt of lightning, thunderbolt
    a discharge of lightning accompanied by thunder
    type of:
    atmospheric electricity
    electrical discharges in the atmosphere
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘lightning'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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