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sheet lightning

lightning appearing merely as a general illumination over a broad area, usually because the path of the flash is obscured by clouds.
Origin of sheet lightning
1820-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for sheet-lightning
Historical Examples
  • This, with great volumes of sheet-lightning, enabled us at times to see the whole country.

  • sheet-lightning flickers above the mountain crests, painting everything white for an instant.

  • Suddenly, as the sheet-lightning flashed, he saw a dark object pass his window, then another.

    White Fire Roy J. Snell
  • The experience of almost every one will testify to the effects of sheet-lightning silently illuminating the sky by night.

  • Flashes of sheet-lightning frequently illumed the black sky and flung a momentary glare over our path.

    Letters of George Borrow George Borrow
  • The air was sultry and windless, and now and then sheet-lightning threw into blunt relief the dark bodies of the trees.

    Satan Sanderson Hallie Erminie Rives
  • It had become very dark; suddenly a blaze of sheet-lightning illumed the room.

    Lavengro George Borrow
  • There was a little of that sheet-lightning early in the evening, which betokens sultry weather.

    The House by the Church-Yard J. Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Suddenly a broad wavering gleam of sheet-lightning lit up the whole brae.

British Dictionary definitions for sheet-lightning

sheet lightning

lightning that appears as a broad sheet, caused by the reflection 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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sheet-lightning in Science
sheet lightning
A broad, sheetlike illumination of a portion of a thundercloud, caused by an unseen, often internal or reflected lightning flash. See also heat lightning, See more at lightning.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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