a flash of lightning with the accompanying thunder.
an imaginary bolt or dart conceived as the material destructive agent cast to earth in a flash of lightning: the thunderbolts of Jove.
something very destructive, terrible, severe, sudden, or startling.
a person who acts with fury or with sudden and irresistible force.

1400–50; late Middle English thondre bolte. See thunder, bolt1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
thunderbolt (ˈθʌndəˌbəʊlt)
1.  a flash of lightning accompanying thunder
2.  the imagined agency of destruction produced by a flash of lightning
3.  See also Thor (in mythology) the destructive weapon wielded by several gods, esp the Greek god Zeus
4.  something very startling

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Example sentences
It is the flash which appears, the thunderbolt will follow.
He had escaped a thunderbolt, but he was still under a cloud.
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