Thunder vs. Lightning

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Thunder and Lightning is that the Thunder is a sound caused by lightning and Lightning is a atmospheric discharge of electricity.

  • Thunder

    Thunder is the sound caused by lightning. Depending on the distance and nature of the lightning, it can range from a sharp, loud crack to a long, low rumble (brontide). The sudden increase in pressure and temperature from lightning produces rapid expansion of the air surrounding and within a bolt of lightning. In turn, this expansion of air creates a sonic shock wave, similar to a sonic boom, often referred to as a “thunderclap” or “peal of thunder”.

  • Lightning

    Lightning is a sudden electrostatic discharge that occurs typically during a thunderstorm. This discharge occurs between electrically charged regions of a cloud (called intra-cloud lightning or IC), between two clouds (CC lightning), or between a cloud and the ground (CG lightning).

    The charged regions in the atmosphere temporarily equalize themselves through this discharge referred to as a flash. A lightning flash can also be a strike if it involves an object on the ground. Lightning creates light in the form of black body radiation from the very hot plasma created by the electron flow, and sound in the form of thunder. Lightning may be seen and not heard when it occurs at a distance too great for the sound to carry as far as the light from the strike or flash.

  • Thunder (noun)

    The loud rumbling or cracking sound caused by expansion of rapidly heated air around a lightning bolt.

    “Thunder is preceded by lightning.”

  • Thunder (noun)

    A sound resembling thunder; especially, one produced by a jet airplane in flight.

  • Thunder (noun)

    A deep, rumbling noise.

    “Off in the distance, he heard the thunder of hoofbeats, signalling a stampede.”

  • Thunder (noun)

    An alarming or startling threat or denunciation.

  • Thunder (noun)

    The discharge of electricity; a thunderbolt.

  • Thunder (noun)

    The spotlight.

    “Shortly after I announced my pregnancy, he stole my thunder” with his news of landing his dream job.”

  • Thunder (verb)

    To produce thunder; to sound, rattle, or roar, as a discharge of atmospheric electricity; often used impersonally.

    “It thundered continuously.”

  • Thunder (verb)

    To make a noise like thunder.

    “The train thundered along the tracks.”

  • Thunder (verb)

    To talk with a loud, threatening voice.

  • Thunder (verb)

    To say (something) with a loud, threatening voice.

    “”Get back to work at once!”, he thundered.”

  • Thunder (verb)

    To produce something with incredible power

  • Lightning (noun)

    A flash of light produced by short-duration, high-voltage discharge of electricity within a cloud, between clouds, or between a cloud and the earth.

    “Although we did not see the lightning, we did hear the thunder.”

  • Lightning (noun)

    A discharge of this kind.

    “The lightning was hot enough to melt the sand.”

    “That tree was hit by lightning.”

  • Lightning (noun)

    Anything that moves very fast.

  • Lightning (noun)

    The act of making bright, or the state of being made bright; enlightenment; brightening, as of the mental powers.

  • Lightning (adjective)

    Extremely fast or sudden.

  • Lightning (adjective)

    Moving at the speed of lightning.

  • Lightning (verb)

    To produce lightning.


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