Definition of lightning noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈlaɪtnɪŋ//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈlaɪtnɪŋ//
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  • [uncountable] a flash, or several flashes, of very bright light in the sky caused by electricity a flash of lightning a violent storm with thunder and lightning He was struck by lightning and killed. Lightning strikes caused scores of fires across the state. CollocationsThe weatherGood weather be bathed in/​bask in/​be blessed with/​enjoy bright/​brilliant/​glorious sunshine the sun shines/​warms something/​beats down (on something) the sunshine breaks/​streams through something fluffy/​wispy clouds drift across the sky a gentle/​light/​stiff/​cool/​warm/​sea breeze blows in/​comes in off the sea the snow crunches beneath/​under somebody’s feet/​bootsBad weather thick/​dark/​storm clouds form/​gather/​roll in/​cover the sky/​block out the sun the sky darkens/​turns black a fine mist hangs in the air a dense/​heavy/​thick fog rolls in the rain falls/​comes down (in buckets/​sheets)/pours down snow falls/​comes down/​covers something the wind blows/​whistles/​howls/​picks up/​whips through something/​sweeps across something strong/​gale-force winds blow/​gust (up to 80 mph) a storm is approaching/​is moving inland/​hits/​strikes/​rages thunder rolls/​rumbles/​sounds (forked/​sheet) lightning strikes/​hits/​flashes a (blinding/​snow) blizzard hits/​strikes/​blows/​rages a tornado touches down/​hits/​strikes/​destroys something/​rips through something forecast/​expect/​predict rain/​snow/​a category-four hurricane (North American English) pour (down)/ (British English) pour (down) with rain get caught in/​seek shelter from/​escape the rain be covered/​shrouded in mist/​a blanket of fog be in for/​brave/​shelter from a/​the storm hear rolling/​distant thunder be battered/​buffeted by strong winds (British English) be blowing a gale battle against/​brave the elementsThe weather improves the sun breaks through the clouds the sky clears/​brightens (up)/lightens (up) the clouds part/​clear the rain stops/​lets up/​holds off the wind dies down the storm passes the mist/​fog lifts/​clears See related entries: Sky
  • Word OriginMiddle English: special use of lightening (verbal noun from lighten in the sense ‘to become lighter’ or ‘brighter’).Extra examples Forked lightning flickered across the sky. He jumped out of the car like greased lightning. He was struck by lightning. Lightning flashed outside. Lightning hit the tree. Lightning lit up the night sky. Lightning strikes caused scores of fires across the state.Idioms
    lightning never strikes (in the same place) twice
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    (saying) an unusual or unpleasant event is not likely to happen in the same place or to the same people twice
    like (greased) lightning
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    very fast He leapt out of the car like lightning.
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: lightning