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From thunder +‎ bolt.


  • IPA(key): /ˈθʌndə(ɹ)ˌboʊlt/


thunderbolt (plural thunderbolts)

  1. A flash of lightning accompanied by a crash of thunder.
  2. (figuratively) An event that is terrible, horrific or unexpected.
    • 1697, “(please specify the book number)”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], OCLC 403869432:
      the Scipios' worth, those thunderbolts of war
  3. Vehement threatening or censure; especially, ecclesiastical denunciation; fulmination.
    • 1627, George Hakewill, Apologie [] of the Power and Providence of God
      a thunder-bolt of warre Striking all Nations
  4. (soccer) A very powerful shot.
    • 2011 February 5, Michael Kevin Darling, “Tottenham 2 - 1 Bolton”, in BBC[1]:
      Substitute Niko Kranjcar's injury-time thunderbolt gave Tottenham a dramatic win over Bolton.
  5. (paleontology) A belemnite, or thunderstone.
  6. (heraldry) A charge in the form of two joined bundles with four rays of lightning emerging from them, resembling the thunderbolt of Jupiter.
  7. A daring or irresistible hero.

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