Meaning of LIGHTNING in English
I. light ‧ ning 1 /ˈlaɪtnɪŋ/ BrE AmE noun [uncountable]
[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Origin: lighten 'to become less dark' ]
1 . a powerful flash of light in the sky caused by electricity and usually followed by ↑ thunder :
Two farmworkers were struck by lightning (=hit by lightning) .
Lightning flashed overhead.
2 . like lightning extremely quickly:
Mitch moved like lightning and caught the little girl before she fell.
3 . lightning never strikes twice something bad or unpleasant is not likely to happen to the same people or in the same place twice
• • •
▪ a 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 storm
A lightning storm lit up the night sky.
▪ thunder and lightning
After a few minutes, the thunder and lightning moved further away.
▪ lightning flashes
Lightning flashed in the sky, and there was a loud crash of thunder.
▪ lightning hits/strikes something
The house had been hit by lightning.
▪ lightning lights (up) something
Lightning lit up the room briefly.
▪ forked 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.
II. lightning 2 BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]
very fast, and often without warning:
a lightning attack
at/with lightning speed (=extremely quickly)
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Longman - Словарь современного английского языка. 2012