Blesk a hrom

Lightning

Two interesting words that came up in my Czech lessons recently are blesk (lightning) and hrom (thunder).

Blesk also means a flash, thunderbolt or flashlight / torch, and sounds like a flash of lightning to me. Hrom could be to a clap of thunder.

I’m not sure which of them usually comes first – is it blesk a hrom or hrom a blesk?

In English it’s always thunder and lightning, even though the lightning comes first. Lightning and thunder just sounds wrong.

In Welsh it’s mellt a tharanau (lightning and thunder).

Is thunder and lightning or lightning and thunder in other languages?

6 thoughts on “Blesk a hrom

  1. In Plautdietsch it’s “blîtß ø rûml” (Lightning & Thunder) /blɪts ɪn ɾʊml̩/

  2. Honestly, I had a hard time thinking why you would say the two of them together anyway. I (speaking Finnish) would usually just talk about ukkonen (thunder). It means both the sound and the type of weather. Salama (lightning) or salamointi (flashing of lightnings) is implied in the latter meaning, so you don’t have to repeat it.

    Other terms for the weather (but not the sound) are ukonilma (literally ‘thunder weather’) and rajuilma (‘fierce weather’). Sometimes people say ukkosmyrsky (‘thunderstorm’), but that’s a misnomer since myrsky only refers to storm in the sense of strong wind.

    I googled for the words being used together and there really aren’t that many results, and they are used in both orders.

  3. In Gaelg (Manx Gaelic), the phrase is alliterative: taarnagh as tendreil – ‘thunder and lightning’. As far as I know, this is the normal word order.

  4. In German the customary order is Blitz und Donner “lightning and thunder,” and this phrase is occasionally used figuratively to mean “(act of) rage; severe punishment.”

    The Chinese have the single word léidiàn (雷电/雷電), literally “thunder-lightning.” And in Chinese mythology the god Léigōng (雷公) “Duke of Thunder” and the goddess Diànmǔ (电母/電母) “Mother of Lightning” are a married couple. In Confucian tradition the lady of the house is to be mentioned after her husband, of course.

    According to the English Wikipedia, Zeus was the Greek god of “the sky, thunder, lightning, law, order, and justice” — in that order. Articles on similar gods, such as the Germanic god Thor, the Hindu-Buddhist god Indra or the Iroquois-Huron god Thunderbird, are listed on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_thunder_gods

    In the Bible including the Tanakh, “thunder and lightning” is the more frequent order, too, see https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=thunder+lightning&version=ERV where you can also find translations of the Bible in a host of other languages.

  5. In Cantonese, we use “thunder/lighting.” 行雷閃電. 行雷 (hang4 leoi4) literally translated means go thunder, this is basically what we say for thunder. 閃 (sim2) means flash, 電 (din6) means electricity. 閃電 (sim2 din6) means lighting. So when put together, it’s thunder/lighting thus similar to the Ennglish.

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