Definition of thunder in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈTHəndər/


1A loud rumbling or crashing noise heard after a lightning flash due to the expansion of rapidly heated air.
Example sentences
  • Flash floods with thunder and lightning were rampant at the weekend.
  • We hear thunder because lightning heats the air to more than 43,000 degrees, causing the air to quickly expand.
  • There were hailstones, rarely heard loud thunder, lightning, strong gusty winds and sheets of rain.
thunderclap, peal of thunder, roll of thunder, rumble of thunder, crack of thunder, crash of thunder
literary thunderbolt
1.1A resounding loud deep noise: you can hear the thunder of the falls in the distance
More example sentences
  • A faint, high pitched whine grew and began to pulse through the ship, a counterpoint to the deeper thunder of the turbines.
  • Interspersed with this was the terrifying thunder of planes and the blast of the bombs.
  • The thunder of the drums rang out around Newbridge town centre on Friday night, sounding the start of Bealtaine, the town s annual arts festival.
rumble, rumbling, boom, booming, roar, roaring, pounding, thud, thudding, crash, crashing, reverberation
rumble, boom, roar, pound, thud, thump, bang;
resound, reverberate, beat
1.2Used in similes and comparisons to refer to an angry facial expression or tone of voice: “I am Brother Joachim,” he announced in a voice like thunder
More example sentences
  • No wonder he looks almost orgasmic as he says in a voice of thunder, ‘I have the powerrrrr!’
  • God speaks to you in this book as much as if he came to the top of Sinai and lifted up his voice with thunder…
  • With a voice oscillating between organ-like thunder and strangled quietness, Gambon brings out Hamm's terminal desperation.
1.3 [as exclamation] dated Used to express anger, annoyance, or incredulity: none of this did the remotest good, but, by thunder, it kept the union activists feeling good


[no object] (it thunders, it is thundering, etc.)
1Thunder sounds: it began to thunder
More example sentences
  • A correspondent with two Spaniels, for example, claimed that his dogs always know when it is thundering and lightning outside.
  • When you hear it thunder, don't run under a tree.
  • It was thundering and lightning all day, which is scary when you are using metal poles.
1.1Make a loud, deep resounding noise: the motorcycle thundered into life the train thundered through the night
More example sentences
  • The news on the TV screen had a surge of static and a loud noise simultaneously thundered throughout the colony.
  • She is distracted by the splintering noises thundering in her ears.
  • A sudden flash and a deep rumble thundered across the heaven.
1.2 [with object] Strike powerfully: McGwire thundered that one out of the stadium
More example sentences
  • Pool forced a free-kick and Waite thundered a trademark strike in off the bar.
  • Substitute Gary McSwegan thundered a 20-yard drive off the post before arriving seconds later right on cue in the six-yard box turning a low centre past McKenzie.
  • Russell shot over in the 61st minute but two minutes later Maurice O'Shea thundered a 35-yard piledriver inches wide.
1.3Speak loudly and forcefully or angrily, especially to denounce or criticize: he thundered against the evils of the age [with direct speech]: “Sit down!” thundered Morse with immense authority
More example sentences
  • The Herald's editorial thundered against the hot-headed motorists who had caused immense danger in Skipton over the Easter holiday.
  • It was from this cathedral that John Knox thundered against the ‘monstrous regiment of women’ in the shape of the beauteous Mary Queen of Scots.
  • Local columnists thundered against the failures of central government in Madrid.
rail against, fulminate against, inveigh against, rage against/about, rant about;
condemn, denounce
informal holler


steal someone's thunder

see steal.



Pronunciation: /ˈTHənd(ə)rər/
Example sentences
  • What this thunderer didn't appear to realise was that elsewhere in that same Glasgow paper was a report that the police had issued ‘unprecedented security advice to scores of businesses’ in Edinburgh.
  • ‘Three tiny wee sandwiches,’ fumed a informed source, not unadjacent to the SNP Lothians thunderer.
  • Accordingly, when Jupiter subsequently reveals himself, Amphitryon recognizes the god's authority: ‘You are the mighty thunderer!’


Pronunciation: /ˈTHənd(ə)rē/
Example sentences
  • A cooler gusty southwest change in the evening with raised dust and thundery showers to follow.
  • A spokesman at Manchester Met Office said: ‘There is a good possibility of some thundery showers, particularly by the middle of the week.’
  • But come Sunday, it's all change and there could be thundery downpours.


Old English thunor (noun), thunrian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch donder and German Donner, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin tonare 'to thunder'.

Words that rhyme with thunder

asunder, blunder, chunder, hereunder, plunder, rotunda, sunder, thereunder, under, up-and-under, wonder

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: thun·der

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