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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Related topics: Nature
lightninglight‧ning1 /ˈlaɪtnɪŋ/ ●●○ noun [uncountable]  1 DNa powerful flash of light in the sky caused by electricity and usually followed by thunder Two farm workers were struck by lightning (=hit by lightning). Lightning flashed overhead.2 like lightning3 lightning never strikes twiceCOLLOCATIONSphrasesa flash of lightning/a lightning flash (=a sudden light from lightning)Suddenly there was a flash of lightning and a roll of thunder.A series of lightning flashes crackled overhead.a bolt of lightning/a lightning bolt (=lightning that appears as a long white line)The tree was struck by a lightning bolt.a lightning strike (=an occasion when lightning hits something)A lightning strike sent a surge through the electricity supply system.a lightning stormA lightning storm lit up the night sky.thunder and lightningAfter a few minutes, the thunder and lightning moved further away.verbslightning flashesLightning flashed in the sky, and there was a loud crash of thunder.lightning hits/strikes somethingThe house had been hit by lightning.lightning lights (up) somethingLightning lit up the room briefly.adjectivesforked lightning (=lightning that appears as lines connected to each other)Forked lightning spread across the sky.sheet lightning (=lightning that appears as a sudden flash of brightness covering a large area of sky)Thunder rumbled and sheet lightning flashed ominously among the clouds.
Examples from the Corpus
lightningThere was a great summer storm, with thunder and lightning and heavy rain.Expect thunder, expect lightning, expect country and blues and rock and expect him to offer the unexpected, too.Atop a mountain he slew his daughter, then was immediately struck dead by a bolt of lightning.Another bolt of lightning struck behind him, and Eugene felt the air seared into ozone on either side of him.When a flash of lightning lit up the sky to the south we decided we'd better go now!A flash of lightning lit up the whole sky.The rumbling becomes louder and is interspersed with flashes of lightning as the sky blackens.Overhead, lightning flickered frequently as the static electricity accumulating in the ash cloud discharged.struck by lightningSo we are 60 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to die from salmonella!In that moment of truth she wanted to be struck by lightning and reduced to smouldering ashes.This compares with 8 for air travel, 100 for child bearing and 0.6 for being struck by lightning.A man struck by lightning was awake and alert Friday, but had no memory of the flash that knocked him unconscious.A businessman walking to his car was struck by lightning and critically injured as co-workers watched in awe.Travelling home one night in a violent storm, Polly was struck by lightning and had to be destroyed.There were torrential rains, rivers burst their banks and flooded standing crops, churches were struck by lightning in heavy thunderstorms.
lightninglightning2 adjective [only before noun]  FAST/QUICKvery fast, and often without warning a lightning attackat/with lightning speed (=extremely quickly)
Examples from the Corpus
lightningIn his prime, Brown was a lightning quick running back.Carville saw the campaign as a lightning war.at/with lightning speedHaving fallen in love with each other, the couple are now setting up home together at lightning speed.Some of these fellas are several screens high, yet they zip around at lightning speed!The application was, of course, dismissed with lightning speed.We have acquired a reputation as the dumping ground with lightning speed.They darted with lightning speed after one another.They were looking for food, of course, and would suddenly plunge downwards at lightning speed when they spotted something.Time was, not everyone had access to moving things at lightning speed, with neither brakes nor checks.
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