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heat lightning

lightning too distant for thunder to be heard, observed as diffuse flashes near the horizon on summer evenings.
Origin of heat lightning
1825-35, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for heat lightning
  • Distant heat lightning illuminated the shoreline without a sound.
  • heat lightning is the term used to describe lightning flashes that are too far away from you to hear the thunder.
  • Lightning from distant thunderstorms that is seen, but the thunder is not heard, is often called heat lightning.
British Dictionary definitions for heat lightning

heat lightning

flashes of light seen near the horizon, esp on hot evenings: reflections of more distant lightning
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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heat lightning in Science
heat lightning  
Intermittent flashes of reddish or orange light near the horizon, usually seen on a hot summer evening and unaccompanied by thunder. Heat lightning is thought to be the reflection of distant lightning on clouds. Its color is believed to be due to the refraction of light in the atmosphere. See also sheet lightning, See more at lightning.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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