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

verb (used without object)

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

verb (used with object)

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


  1. 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.


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


  1. to make (a loud sound) or utter (words) in a manner suggesting thunder
  2. (intr; with it as subject) to be the case that thunder is being heard
  3. (intr) to move fast and heavilythe bus thundered downhill
  4. (intr) to utter vehement threats or denunciation; rail

n.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. v.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.

  1. 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 noise created when air rushes back into a region from which it has been expelled by the passage of lightning. see under steal someone’s thunder.

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