Definition of thunderbolt in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈTHəndərˌbōlt/


1A flash of lightning with a simultaneous crash of thunder.
Example sentences
  • I expect she was trying to escape the Suffolk weather, which, when it's not bombarding us with thunderbolts and lightning (very very frightening), is chucking meteorites at us.
  • When the bizarre and woefully ugly characters of Royston Vasey experience thunderbolts and lightning in their beloved village, they begin to imagine it is the end of the world.
  • However, during thunderbolts and lightning I prefer to exercise caution.
1.1A supposed bolt or shaft believed to be the destructive agent in a lightning flash, especially as an attribute of a god such as Jupiter or Thor.
Example sentences
  • In the latter, a monstrous giant steals Zeus's thunderbolts, which are retrieved in a manner similar to Thor's thunderweapons.
  • The three brothers became the blacksmiths of the Olympian gods, creating Zeus' thunderbolts, Poseidon's trident.
  • The Cyclopes gave Zeus the thunderbolt and Hades a helmet, gave Poseidon his trident.
1.2Used in similes and comparisons to refer to a very sudden or unexpected event or item of news, especially of an unpleasant nature: the full force of what she had been told hit her like a thunderbolt
More example sentences
  • The news was a thunderbolt to those who knew the couple.
  • Her murder is a political thunderbolt that, if correctly harnessed, could single-handedly save the pro-euro cause.
  • It almost seemed a reversal of nature that there should be a reply to the thunderbolts of Clark.
1.3 informal A very fast and powerful shot, throw, or stroke.
Example sentences
  • Hogan exposed some poor Roscommon defending before unleashing a thunderbolt of a shot, which flew past Martin and almost burst the net.
  • However, he quickly made amends with a crisp strike at the end of another well-worked move and then flying winger Sam Crompton fired high into the net with a thunderbolt of a shot.
  • In the 87th minute Trevor Whieldon broke up a Halton attack and found David Knapp on the right wing, Knapp fed Earnshaw, who completed his hat-trick with a thunderbolt shot from just inside the area.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: thun·der·bolt

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.