Meaning of “lightning” in the English Dictionary

"lightning" in British English

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lightningnoun [ U ]

uk /ˈlaɪt.nɪŋ/ us /ˈlaɪt.nɪŋ/

B1 a flash of bright light in the sky that is produced by electricity moving between clouds or from clouds to the ground:

thunder and lightning
a flash/bolt of lightning
That tree was struck by lightning.
She changed her clothes with lightning speed (= extremely quickly).

More examples

  • Fractals are used in the study of things like forked lightning and to produce some types of computer graphics.
  • The computer failure was due to a glitch caused by lightning.
  • The lightning had damaged the plane's instruments, and they weren't giving any readings.
  • Have you ever been struck by lightning?
  • A special system prevents the circuitry being tripped accidentally by a power surge or lightning strike.

(Definition of “lightning” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"lightning" in American English

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lightningnoun [ U ]

us /ˈlɑɪt·nɪŋ/

lightning noun [ U ] (ELECTRIC FLASH)

a flash of bright light in the sky produced by electricity moving within or between clouds, or between clouds and the ground:

That tree was struck by lightning in a recent thunderstorm.
lightning bolt also bolt of lightning

A lightning bolt or bolt of lightning is a particular flash of bright light seen in the sky.

lightningadjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈlɑɪt·nɪŋ/

lightning adjective [ not gradable ] (FAST)

very fast:

She moves at lightning speed.

(Definition of “lightning” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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