from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Dazzling or stunning in effect.
  • adj. Medicine Occurring suddenly and severely. Used of a disease.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having an awesome and overwhelming effect.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Sudden and overwhelming in effect; like a lightning-stroke.
  • Specifically, in pathology, beginning in a very sudden and severe form: said of disease.


French, from present participle of foudroyer, to strike with lightning, from foudre, lightning, from Old French fouldre, from Latin fulgur, from fulg─ôre, to flash; see bhel-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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