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[thuhn-der-stawrm] /ˈθʌn dərˌstɔrm/
a transient storm of lightning and thunder, usually with rain and gusty winds, sometimes with hail or snow, produced by cumulonimbus clouds.
Also called electrical storm.
Origin of thunderstorm
1645-55; thunder + storm Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for thunderstorm
  • As the name implies, there is usually only one cell with this type of thunderstorm.
  • But for a thunderstorm that must have seemed heaven-sent, many of the city's public buildings might have burned to the ground.
  • One is why the plane ended up inside the thunderstorm.
  • All that was left were these neon-lit bikes riding down the street in a thunderstorm.
  • He followed the herd when it stampeded during a terrific thunderstorm.
  • Suddenly, a fast-moving thunderstorm approaches, bringing gusty winds and large raindrops.
  • In some cases, ball lightning appears after a thunderstorm--or even before it.
  • Every frame was manipulated and color-shifted to create an intense, thunderstorm palette.
  • Saguaro cacti stand in the desert as a thunderstorm rolls overhead.
  • In his now-famous experiment, he sent a kite with a metal key tied to the string up into a thunderstorm.
British Dictionary definitions for thunderstorm


a storm caused by strong rising air currents and characterized by thunder and lightning and usually heavy rain or hail
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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Word Origin and History for thunderstorm

1650s, from thunder (n.) + storm (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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thunderstorm in Science
A storm of heavy rain accompanied by lightning, thunder, wind, and sometimes hail. Thunderstorms occur when moist air near the ground becomes heated, especially in the summer, and rises, forming cumulonimbus clouds that produce precipitation. Electrical charges accumulate at the bases of the clouds until lightning is discharged. Air in the path of the lightning expands as a result of being heated, causing thunder. Thunderstorms can also be caused by temperature changes triggered by volcanic eruptions and forest fires, and they occur with much greater frequency at the equatorial regions than in polar regions.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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